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12 Thyroid Cancer Cases Confirmed in Fukushima Children: Preliminary Results of FY2011/FY2012 Fukushima Thyroid Examination

The Eleventh Planning Committee of the Prefecture Health Management Survey met on June 5, 2013.  The preliminary data for the thyroid ultrasound examination was released to the press at the meeting.

Overall, a higher percentage of Fukushima children, tested in the Fiscal Year Heisei 24 (FY2012), are showing thyroid ultrasound abnormalities than the Fiscal Year Heisei 23 (FY2011) in all assessment categories.  In addition, the average diameter of the tumor increased.

Higher percentages of children have nodules larger than 5.1 mm or cysts larger than 20.1 mm, which put them in the assessment B category, qualifying for the secondary examination consisting of thyroid blood tests, a more detailed thyroid ultrasound examination, and a fine-needle aspiration biopsy if warranted.

The press is reporting that there are 28 cases suspected of thyroid cancer out of 174,000 children tested and that 12 of the 28 have been confirmed to have papillary thyroid cancer.  This is a bit misleading, as not all the children in the B assessment category in the Fiscal Year 2012 have finished or even begun the process of secondary examination.  In other words, there could be more cases of thyroid cancer diagnosed in these 174,000 children.

There were 205, of 40,302 examined, qualifying for the secondary examination in FY2011, and 7 of the 12 suspected cases were confirmed to have papillary thyroid cancer.  In FY2012, 16 were suspected of having thyroid cancer, and 5 of them were confirmed to have papillary thyroid cancer.  However, 16 is not by any means the final count for the FY2012 group, as only 27.3% of the eligible 935 children have begun the process of the secondary examination.

Notable is the fact that 442 of 935 eligible for the secondary examination are from Koriyama, where the appeal for a group evacuation was denied recently.  To date, only 1.1% or 5 of the 442 Koriyama children underwent secondary examination, yet 2 are already suspected of having thyroid cancer.


  1. When will all the secondary examinations be complete? Do we know?

  2. If you refer to the next post at, there is a draft schedule for the H24 secondary examination in section 4(4). It shows Koriyama City's secondary examination taking well into mid-September, 2013. Then, there will be more secondary examinations for the H25 municipalities, so it will probably not be until sometime 2014 before ALL the secondary examinations are completed.


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