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Examination History and Abnormal Thyroid and Breast Lesions According to Residential Distance from Nuclear Power Plants

  • Lim, Young-Khi (Department of Radiological Science, Gachon University)
  • Received : 2016.09.20
  • Accepted : 2016.10.20
  • Published : 2016.12.31

Abstract

Background: Ascertainment bias are common in epidemiologic studies to assess the association between thyroid cancer risk and living near nuclear power plants because many thyroid cancers are diagnosed by chance through health examination. We surveyed the ultra sonography (USG) examination history and conducted thyroid and breast USG in residents living near nuclear power plants. Materials and Methods: The study population comprised 2,421 residents living near nuclear power plants in Korea. Information on demographic characteristics, including diagnostic examination history, was collected by interview using questionnaires. USG examination was conducted to evaluate the presence of thyroid nodules and breast lesion. Study participants were divided into 3 groups according to the distance of their respective villages from a nuclear power plant. The proportions of USG examination history and prevalence of thyroid nodules and breast lesions were compared between groups. Results and Discussion: Examination histories of thyroid USG were 23.1%, 13.7%, and 10.5% in men and 31.3%, 26.7%, 18.3% in women in the short, intermediate, and long distance groups, respectively. There were significant inverse associations between thyroid USG history and the distance from nuclear power plants (P for trend = 0.001 for men and 0.017 for women). However, there was no association between the distance of villages from nuclear power plants and prevalence of thyroid nodules. Conclusion: Our results suggest that there may be an ascertainment bias in population-based studies examining the harmful effects of NPPs examination and researchers should pay attention to ascertainment bias resulted from differential health examination. Correction for ascertainment bias, active follow-up and examination for all study population to remove differential health examination is needed.

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