Fifteen people around their 20s living in Fukushima Prefecture have been diagnosed with or have been suspected of thyroid cancer, which is most of the times associated with radiation exposure, Fukushima officials said.
After the officials’ latest announcement, the total number of people who received the diagnosis of thyroid cancer or have been suspected of it raised to 59.
All were aged 18 or under in March 2011 when a disastrous earthquake and tsunami lead to the meltdown of reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The latest figures show 12 people per 100,000 who were aged 18 or younger at the time of the accident developing thyroid cancer, the international press reports.
That compares with an average of 1.7 people per 100,000 in the general population between the ages of 15 and 19 who contracted the cancer in 2007, according to statistics taken in four prefectures, including nearby Miyagi.
Around 33,000 people were tested in Fukushima Prefecture before the current results came out. So far, the prefectural government has released test results for about 226,000 people.
Of the 15 young people and children, only eight were definitively diagnosed as having thyroid cancer, while the other seven are suspected cases. Their average age was 16.8 in March 2011, when Fukushima power plant was crippled by the earthquake.