UK radiation workers have higher than normal cancer risk but lower overall death rate

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 08 January 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b64
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

    Radiation workers’ risk of developing a range of cancers rises with increasing exposure to ionising radiation, a UK study has found. The study confirms previous findings but also shows that this group benefits from a “healthy worker effect,” with a lower overall death rate than in the general population.

    The study looked at cancer incidence and mortality in 174 541 people in the National Registry for Radiation Workers, which was set up in 1976 to assess the effects of protracted exposure to low dose radiation in the workplace. They include workers at nuclear power stations, people working with atomic weapons and medical isotopes, and researchers working with radioactive materials.

    The latest results show that the incidence and mortality from leukaemia (apart from chronic lymphocytic leukaemia) and all other malignant neoplasms apart …

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