Breast cancer in areas with highest fall-out from Chernobyl

Breast cancer in areas with highest fall-out from Chernobyl

Eero Pukkala1, Ausra Kesminiene2, Semion Poliakov3, Anton Ryzhov4, Vladimir Drozdovich2, Lina Kovgan5, Pentti Kyyrönen1, Irina V Malakhova3, Liudmila Gulak4 and Elisabeth Cardis2

We carried-out an ecological epidemiological study to describe the spatial and temporal trends in breast cancer incidence in the most contaminated regions of Belarus and Ukraine, and to evaluate whether increases seen since 1986 correlate to radiation exposure from the Chernobyl accident.

Our study demonstrated increases in breast cancer incidence in all areas following the Chernobyl accident, reflecting improvements in cancer diagnosis and registration. In addition, a significant two-fold increase in risk was observed, during the period 1997-2001, in the most contaminated districts (average cumulative dose of 40.0 mSv or more) compared to the least contaminated districts (RR in Belarus 2.24, 95% CI 1.51-3.32 and in Ukraine 1.78, 95% CI 1.08-2.93). The increase appeared approximately 10 years after the accident, was highest among women who were younger at the time of exposure and was observed for both localised and metastatic diseases.

Graphical results

Participants of the workshop under GENE-RAD-INTERACT project 27-29 October 2003, Minsk
Seated: I. Venskaya (interviewer), City Polyclinic, Minsk; Dr. I. Ponomarev (interviewer), Institute of Oncology, Kiev; N. Shebeka (data manager), BelCMT, Minsk; Dr. A. Kesminiene (scientist), IARC, France; standing:Dr. D. Kunitsky (interviewer), BelCMT, Minsk; G. Vasilieva (interpretor), BelCMT, Minsk; Dr. I. Malakhova (deputy director), BelCMT, Minsk; L.Richardson (scientist), IARC, France.

Participating institutions:

1 Finnish Cancer Registry, Institute for Statistical and Epidemiological Cancer Research, Helsinki, Finland
2 Republican Cancer Registry of Belarus, Minsk, Belarus
3 Ukrainian Cancer Registry, Kyiv, Ukraine
4 IARC, Radiation Group, 150 cours Albert Thomas, 69 372, Lyon Cedex 08, France
5 Radiation Protection Institute, Kyiv, Ukraine

Funding: The study is part of the Gene-Rad-Interact Project (Gene-Radiation Interactions: Their Influence On Pre-Menopausal Breast Cancer Risk After Chernobyl) funded by EU contract No FIGH-CT-2002-00215.