Cancer – Profiles



Cancer profile of WTC first responders

Five years after 9/11, a cancer-profile of WTC first responders that mimics that of people exposed to nuclear irradiation is emerging.

1) There is an overall increase in cancers. [REF]
2) The types of cancers that are seen in these people who were in the vicinity of the WTC in the aftermath of its destruction is similar to the types found in people who have been irradiated: nuclear bombing victims (Nagasaki and Hiroshima) [REF], nuclear power plant workers [REF], and workers in the area of nuclear leaks and meltdowns (Chernobyl) [REF].

WTC workers are being struck with brain cancers, lymphomas, leukemias and breast cancers. [REF]

Doctors who have been treating Ground Zero patients are alarmed at the unusually high incidence of uncommon cancers like non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

These people are walking proof that there were nuclear devices that were detonated on 9/11. The sort of cancers they develop is a red flag that something unusual happened at the WTC site. [REF]

In a report dated Jun 16, 2006, almost five years after the September 11 attacks, 283 WTC rescue and recovery workers have been diagnosed with cancer. [REF] Thirty-three have died from cancer. [REF]

Other workers who do not have cancer suffer from illnesses that stem from damage to their immune system, an effect of exposure to ionizing radiation. [REF].

Out of 7,300 Ground Zero workers involved in a lawsuit, 41 have died as of 2006. [REF] Some of the deaths are due to brain cancer, a cancer associated with nuclear radiation exposure. [REF]

Exposure to the dust cloud that was formed in the aftermath of the destruction of the Twin Towers (and the WTC 7) seems to be a risk factor in the development of serious illnesses for Ground Zero workers. [REF]

“In another news story that came out today, a survey completed by the Centers for Disease Control states that people trapped in the dust and debris cloud were nearly three times more likely to experience respiratory symptoms than other building survivors not bathed by the cloud. “That was most surprising to us – the impact of the dust cloud,” noted Dr. Lorna Thorpe, deputy commissioner of the city Health Department and head of the World Trade Center Health Registry, which has been tracking the health of more than 71,000 people who worked at or were near Ground Zero on 9/11.” [REF]

A dust cloud containing fission products after a nuclear detonation causes injury by being inhaled. [REF] The harmful effects of fallout can be minimized by detonation of the nuclear device at high altitudes [REF] and by washing away of the dust [REF], reducing the chances of it being inhaled or in some way entering the body.

A common route of entry of radioisotopes in fallout is via the respiratory tract. [REF] Respiratory diseases of Ground Zero workers dominate the clinical picture of sufferers. [REF] If the particles the workers inhaled include fission products of a nuclear reaction, there will be an increase in lung cancers in those affected.

There was also much release of asbestos into the atmosphere during the disintegration of the buildings as the WTC towers had massive amounts of asbestos inside them [REF]. Asbestos was the “wonder” insulating material back then and the dangers of asbestos were unknown at the time.

Silverstein and the investors who bought the WTC lease

Silverstein, of course, would have known about the asbestos at the time he bought the 100-year lease for the Twin Towers for $15 million. [REF]

The investors who helped him buy the lease were Nelson Rockefeller, Frank Lowy (owner of the Gowings retailer and Westfield shopping center chain in Australia, Ronald Lauder,  […….], and […….].


It seemed a foolish decision to buy this lease at the time. To renovate the tower complex and remove all the asbestos would cost more than the owners of the lease would ever hope to make on the purchase. [REF]

In other words, the WTC complex was a white elephant. You would be mad to do what Silverstein and his cohorts did at that time.

But that’s when you don’t take into account that the owners of the lease had other ideas about what they were going to do with the complex.

They were going to pull a massive insurance fraud, the biggest one in America’s history, one involving the immediate deaths of 2,500 people (and tens of thousands of deaths of people if you take into account the deaths of people who died and will die of long term complications related to WTC deadly dust and radiation [REF], something that will emerge as a major killer, dwarfing those who died from the collapse and disintegration of the buildings). [REF] They would make a killing of 7.2 billion dollars (the total amount received from the insurance company) [REF], an amount that makes the initial investment Silverstein made look like a pittance.

IMAGE: Larry Silverstein

Here is an account of a person who worked at the WTC site and developed mesothelioma eventually dying from it: [REF]

“In a related post, WTC Ground Zero: FDNY paramedic dies of lung cancer, we shared the story of Debbie Reeve, a FDNY paramedic, who spent several months at Ground Zero working in the morgue. Reeve was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer. Mesothelioma is a malignant lung cancer linked to asbestos exposure. Reeve was exposed to asbestos particles in the air caused by the collapsing Twin Towers. According to her physician and her family, her work at Ground Zero is the direct link to the cancer that took her life. She died in mid-March, leaving behind her husband, David Reeve, 45, a FDNY paramedic, and two children, a daughter Elizabeth, who is ten years old, and a son Mark, who is only six years old. Her family said she suffered greatly leading up to her death, as the cancer consumed her body.”

Mesothelioma is usually associated with asbestos exposure but 20% of cases are thought to be caused by radiation. [REF]

There is a notably high incidence of mesothelioma (highly statistically significant based on 3 patients). This cancer is usually associated with exposure to asbestos but 20% of cases are thought to be due to radiation, according to the Oxford Textbook of Pathology.

The pathophsyiology of lung damage caused by inhaled respiratory radionuclides is described thus [REF]:

The inhaled particle tracks down through the respiratory passages into the lungs, settling in an alveolar sac. The radioactive particle emits radioactive rays, alpha, beta and gamma rays that affect the cells nearby, damaging the DNA and causing malignant transformation. The damaged cell reproduces producing a colony of rapidly dividing cells that eventually out-multiply normal cells, and ultimately cause death of the organism.

In this picture, a plutonium particle has lodged in the lung of an ape. Tracking the particle for 48 hours, this composite picture tracks the path of the alpha rays emanating from the particle. These rays cause chromosomal abnormalities in neighboring cells and cause cancer to develop.

Alpha Rays from a Radioactive Particle in Lung Tissue


IMAGE: The black star shows the tracks made over a 48 hour period by alpha rays emitted from a radioactive particle of plutonium lodged in the lung tissue of an ape (the particle itself is invisible). In living lung tissue, if one of the cells adjacent to the particle is damaged in a certain way, it can become a cancer cell later on, spreading rapidly through the lung, causing almost certain death.

Photo by Robert Del Tredici from his book entitled At Work In The Fields Of The Bomb (Harper and Row, 1987)

Clean-up efforts after WTC

Hence one can see the rationale for the extraordinary clean-up efforts after the WTC bombing. Clean-up crews were involved in an operation to scrub down and wash away the radioactive dust residue that covered Manhattan that day. The dust came from the huge pyroclastic dust clouds that floated above Manhattan and eventually descended and settled down on it like a blanket.[PICTURE OF DUST THICK ON GROUND]

The quantity of dust is testimony to the volume of materials that were consumed in the nuclear explosion of the Twin Towers. The detonation of nuclear devices thrust people into a billowing furnace of hellish fire and obliterated all recognizable traces of them. They instantly turned into dust, along with the building materials, the furniture, the plane, everything – that is the true significance of the missing people. Those people weren’t merely crushed by pancaking floors; they were blown sky-high and smashed into infinitesimally small particles (as minute as 0.9 micron [REF]) that eerily stayed suspended above the Manhattan skyline before floating down as gray radioactive dust particles.


Where was all the debris of each tower that was 750,000 tons in weight and 110 floors tall in height? The pile of debris that was left behind in the footprint of the twin towers was pitifully small in each case. It did not even reach the full height of the tractor seen in this picture below [REF]:


This pile of debris that remained of pancaking floors is supposed to represent the pancaked layers of 110 storeys. It doesn’t even resemble a pancake-collapse. (See pictures of pancake-collapse buildings.) It looks like a dust-collapse.

IMAGE: Pancake collapse

Radioactive fallout can be contained by washing it away. [REF] That might be why the government implemented a clean-up effort that involved massive washing. Thirty million gallons of water entered “the Bathtub” (the foundation of the Twin Towers) alone [REF].


IMAGE: Street cleaning began on 9/11. [REF- WOOD – MOLECULAR DISSOCIATION].

The government also whisked away the steel debris to China under security. They even put GPS sensors on the steel beams to enable tracking. [REF]

They had to make sure the steel beams were moved offshore to prevent any possibility of it being forensically examined; such an examination would probably reveal radioactivity. This is the real reason why the government was in great haste to send the WTC steel to China for scrapping. [REF] (The Chinese probably returned much of the radioactive steel back to America in the form of manufactured steel products.)

Another cancer that is appearing in unusually high frequency is brain cancer. Dozens of people including six NYPD workers have developed brain cancer in the wake of the 9/11 disaster. Brain cancer is associated with radiation. In one study, nuclear power workers were found to have an increased risk of developing brain cancer.

“.. these index studies of more than 78,000 workers followed for an average of 21 years, with more than 1.6 million person years of observation, establish that there is a statistically significant 15% excess risk of brain cancer for workers in the U.S. nuclear industry who have low-dose average cumulative radiation exposures”

IMAGE: Firemen work in the Ground Zero site soon after the WTC towers collapsed and they do not wear lead suits or respirator masks that could have reduced their exposure to radiation.

The same cancers keep turning up with increased frequency in those exposed to radiation from different sources. Blood cell cancers form one such group of cancers. Leukemias, lymphomas (Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma), and myelomas are all blood cell cancers. Blood cells are made in the bone marrow and bones are vulnerable to radiation effects as strontium collects in the bone. Strontium is an analog of calcium. [REF]

Iodine-131 has a predilection for the thyroid and accounts for the high incidence of thyroid cancer in nuclear radiation victims [REF]. This is why taking iodine pills is done as a preventative measure by those who fear radiation exposure. [REF]

Cesium-135 collects in soft tissues. [REF]

Other cancers that occur frequently in those exposed to excessive radiation are lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer.  Stomach cancer appears in high frequency in those who receive an internal dose of radiation (through ingesting plant foods that have been grown in contaminated soils or by drinking milk from contaminated cows). [REF]

“With man s increased uses of radioactive material, more radionuclides have been and continue to be released to the environment. Once released, they can circulate through the biosphere, ending up in drinking water, vegetables, grass, meat, etc. The higher an animal eats on the food chain, the higher the concentration of radionuclides. This is bioaccumulation. The process of bioaccumulating radionuclides can be especially harmful to humans since many of us eat at the top of the food chain.”

These radionuclides: Iodine-131, Strontium-90, Cesium, were all found in elevated levels at the WTC sites. [REF]

Children are more vulnerable than adults to the effects of radiation as their bodies are still developing. Damage to children’s DNA has more deleterious side effects. [REF]

Cancer is of course a long term effect of radiation exposure. Radiation causes mutation of cells to occur and the dose of radiation that induces these changes in cells may be less than the threshold for the production of observable acute effects.

In such an event as a detonation of a nuclear device, acute effects will be seen and these effects are usually called ‘radiation sickness’ or ‘radiation poisoning’. [REF]

A rad is the amount of radiant energy absorbed by a target. One rad is equivalent to 0.01 joule per kilogram of tissue. Since SI units are used internationally, the SI unit for amount of radiation absorbed by tissue is Gray (Gy) and 1 Gy equals 100 rad.

We multiply the rad by the RBE (relative biological effectiveness) to get a result in rem (roentgram equivalent in man). For SI units, we multiply Gray by the RBE to get the effective radiation in Sieverts (Sv). 1 Sv = 100 rem. [REF]

Different kinds of radiant energy cause different amounts of damage for a given energy absorbed. The RBE (often denoted by the letter Q) gives a quality factor to the different types of radiation. For example, alpha rays are highly damaging and the Q for it could be high as 20. For beta and gamma rays, the Q is taken as 1. The Q of neutron radiation depends on the energy of the neutrons. [REF]

Alpha particles are more damaging of course but the skin is more resistant to alpha rays.

(Adapted from

The dose of radiation one receives is a function of the distance from the radiation source and duration of time of exposure.

Dose is proportional to time,

Dose \propto t

and inversely proportional to the distance squared.

Dose \propto \frac{1}{r^2}


Fractionation of a dose of radiation means that one is not continuously exposed to the radiation but exposed to it in spurts over a period of time. The breaks away from the radiation allows the body to repair itself in between exposure periods, and has a protective effect. That is why Devair Alves Ferreira, a junkyard owner, survived the Goiania accident and his wife, Maria, who was stayed in her house, did not survive. He did not receive the dose of radiation continuously although the total dose he received was greater than the dose his wife received. Read about the Goiania accident here

Shielding oneself by placing a barrier between the source of radiation and one’s body also has a protective effect. Fallout shelters are built on this principle. [REF]

The phenomenon of shielding could be why Rodriguez, who was purportedly the last person to leave the North Tower, was able to survive the nuclear detonation – he dove under a fire-truck when the big explosion began. [REF] The fire-truck served as a fallout shelter for him. However, even though he did not receive a dose of radiation that would cause acute symptoms, he might have received enough radiation to cause long term effects, and it appears he has experienced ill health since 9/11, which has prevented him from working. [REF]

The people who responded first to the attacks and came to the site and stayed there the longest, doing 24-hour shifts there and returning repeatedly to continue the work, would have been exposed to the radiation for the longest times. It would be these people who would have increased incidence of cancer. And that is precisely what is happening; we are witnessing a phenomenally high incidence of cancers in WTC workers, even though they may not have received large enough doses of radiation at the time of exposure to show up as acute illnesses. The consistency of exposure to the radiation at the WTC for lengthy periods of time could have been the factor that led to cancer development in these workers.

Below is a table which has been adapted from Radiation Poisoning.

Table of exposure levels and symptoms

Dose-equivalents are presently stated in sieverts:

0.05–0.2 Sv (5–20 REM) No symptoms. Potential for cancer and mutation of genetic material although some say this dose is protective against cancer (hormesis)
0.2–0.5 Sv (20–50 REM) No noticeable symptoms. Red blood cell count decreases temporarily.
0.5–1 Sv (50–100 REM) Mild radiation sickness with headache and increased risk of infection due to disruption of immunity cells. Temporary male sterility is possible.
1–2 Sv (100–200 REM) Light radiation poisoning, 10% fatality after 30 days. Typical symptoms include mild to moderate nausea, with occasional vomiting, beginning 3 to 6 hours after irradiation and lasting for up to one day. This is followed by a 10 to 14 day latent phase, after which light symptoms like general illness and fatigue appear. The immune system is depressed, with convalescence extended and increased risk of infection. Temporary male sterility is common. Spontaneous abortion or stillbirth will occur in pregnant women.
2–3 Sv (200–300 REM) Severe radiation poisoning, 35% fatality after 30 days. Nausea is common, with 50% risk of vomiting at 2.8 Sv. Symptoms onset at 1 to 6 hours after irradiation and last for 1 to 2 days. After that, there is a 7 to 14 day latent phase, after which the following symptoms appear: loss of hair all over the body, fatigue and general illness. There is a massive loss of leukocytes (white blood cells), greatly increasing the risk of infection. Permanent female sterility is possible. Convalescence takes one to several months.
3–4 Sv (300–400 REM) Severe radiation poisoning, 50% fatality after 30 days. Other symptoms are similar to the 2–3 Sv dose, with uncontrollable bleeding in the mouth, under the skin and in the kidneys after the latent phase.
4–6 Sv (400–600 REM) Acute radiation poisoning, 60% fatality after 30 days. Fatality increases from 60% at 4.5 Sv to 90% at 6 Sv (unless there is intense medical care). Symptoms start half an hour to two hours after irradiation and last for up to 2 days. After that, there is a 7 to 14 day latent phase, after which generally the same symptoms appear as with 3-4 Sv irradiation, with increased intensity. Female sterility is common at this point. Convalescence takes several months to a year. The primary causes of death (in general 2 to 12 weeks after irradiation) are infections and internal bleeding.
6–10 Sv (600–1,000 REM) Acute radiation poisoning, near 100% fatality after 14 days. Survival depends on intense medical care. Bone marrow is nearly or completely destroyed, so a bone marrow transplant is required. Gastric and intestinal tissue are severely damaged. Symptoms start 15 to 30 minutes after irradiation and last for up to 2 days. Subsequently, there is a 5 to 10 day latent phase, after which the person dies of infection or internal bleeding. Recovery would take several years and probably would never be complete.

Devair Alves Ferreira received a dose of approximately 7.0 Sv (700 REM) during the Goiânia accident and survived, partially due to his fractionated exposure.

10–50 Sv (1,000–5,000 REM)

The mouth of a man who has suffered a 10 to 20 Gy dose 21 days after the exposure, note that damage to normal skin, the lips and the tongue can be seen

The mouth of a man who has suffered a 10 to 20 Gy dose 21 days after the exposure, note that damage to normal skin, the lips and the tongue can be seen

Acute radiation poisoning, 100% fatality after 7 days. An exposure this high leads to spontaneous symptoms after 5 to 30 minutes. After powerful fatigue and immediate nausea caused by direct activation of chemical receptors in the brain by the irradiation, there is a period of several days of comparative well-being, called the latent (or “walking ghost“) phase. After that, cell death in the gastric and intestinal tissue, causing massive diarrhoea, intestinal bleeding and loss of water, leads to water-electrolyte imbalance. Death sets in with delirium and coma due to breakdown of circulation. Death is currently inevitable; the only treatment that can be offered is pain therapy.

Louis Slotin was exposed to approximately 21 Sv in a criticality accident on 21 May 1946, and died nine days later on 30 May.

At this dose the skin can be damaged, here is a photo of a man who received a 10 to 20 Gy gamma whole body dose as a result of an industrial accident, He died about 10 days after the photo was taken, about 30 days after the event.

50–80 Sv (5,000–8,000 REM) Immediate disorientation and coma in seconds or minutes. Death occurs after a few hours by total collapse of nervous system.
More than 80 Sv (>8,000 REM) U.S. military forces expect immediate death. A worker receiving 100 Sv (10,000 REM) in an accident at Wood River, Rhode Island, USA on 24 July 1964 survived for 49 hours after exposure, and an operator receiving between 60 and 180 Sv (18,000 REM) to his upper body in an accident at Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA on 30 December 1958 survived for 36 hours; details of this accident can be found on page 16 (page 30 in the PDF version) of Los Alamos’ 2000 Review of Criticality Accidents.

Acute injury from radiation

In a nuclear detonation, acute injury can occur via three mechanisms:

1) Thermal burns from infrared radiation

2) Beta burns from shallow ionizing radiation

3) Gamma burns from highly penetrating radiation. [REF]

Radiation from the atomic bomb detonation caused acute illnesses and death in 1% of those who survived the initial blast in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Thirty-one people died in the immediate aftermath of the Chernobyl reactor accident. The acute effects were mostly confined to those who were on-site at the time of the accident. [REF]

We can assume that those who received high doses of radiation (>3 Sv) from the bombing of the WTC towers and received flash burns and died within days were diagnosed as having received thermal injuries from a thermal infrared cause (there were many fires in the WTC on that day). Nevertheless, flashburns are a hallmark of radiation injury from nuclear detonations.

A description of the health effects of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings is found here:…es/08060003.htm


ON THE 6th August 1945, exactly 56 years ago, an atom bomb destroyed Hiroshima. Nagasaki faced devastation three days later. The Imperial Headquarters requested Dr. Y.Nishina (famous for Klein-Nishina formula for Compton scattering of photons) to go to Hiroshima. He concluded that the damage was due to an atomic bomb.

When the bombs were dropped, these cities had an estimated population of 310,000 and 250,000 respectively. About 90,000- 140,000 in Hiroshima and 60,000- 80,000 people in Nagasaki died immediately or within two to four months after bombing, resulting from collapse of houses caused by the blast and from heat rays and fires and radiation exposure. In the 1950 Japanese national census, nearly 280,000 persons stated that they “had been exposed” in the two cities.

Radiation fogged X-ray films stored at the Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital. Exposed material became radioactive. Kimura and Tajima of the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research determined that the Hiroshima bomb exploded at a height of 577 m. They used an electric furnace and a carbon arc furnace to simulate charring observed on the surface of a wooden board of Japanese cypress and estimated that the bomb had a radiant energy of 4.6 million million calories.

Scientists could enter the bombed area only after 3 to 4 weeks because of frequent typhoons. They measured higher radiation levels due to induced radioactivity near the epicentre. Additional radiation levels were 10-15 per cent of the natural background.


IMAGE: Japanese woman suffering burns from thermal radiation after a nuclear bomb explosion in 1945.


IMAGE: Dress pattern tattooed onto fabric in 1955 atomic bomb test

There were stories by witnesses of people evaporating before their eyes at the time of the breakup of the towers. [REF] People vanishing in a flash after the bombs were dropped was a common occurrence in the Nagasaki and Hiroshima disasters. [REF]

If the radiation in the immediate aftermath of the WTC attacks had been less than 2 Sv, signs of acute radiation poisoning in those exposed would probably have been attributed to another cause.

There are many reports of Ground Zero workers suffering from chronic lassitude, malaise, lethargy – all symptoms of a damaged immune system due to irradiation. [REF]

More discussion about the acute health effects of nuclear bombs here. [LINK]

Nuclear fallout

Fallout from nuclear tests has been extensively studied. An increase in cancer rates in the area of the fallout is a signature of nuclear testing. Studies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bomb victims demonstrate increased risks of leukemia and thyroid cancer within one decade of exposure.

A nuclear reaction can be either a fission or a fusion one. In practice, so-called ‘fusion’ reactions are really fission-fusion reactions. In both types of nuclear reactions, radioactive products are produced. They can be classified in the following way:

1) Fission products

2) Activation products (elements that are radioactive by the addition of a neutron)

3) Leftover fission materials that are part of the bomb construction that don’t fission during the detonation

In a nuclear explosion, a large fireball is created that vaporizes everything within it, and a huge dust cloud of pulverized material is formed (the familiar mushroom cloud of nuclear detonations). The fireball incorporates soil sucked into it and the soil forms part of the cloud created.  The radioactive cloud expands as it cools and loses buoyancy and the radioactive soil and debris that are swept up into it settle on the ground where the wind disperses it. The settlement of  microscopic radioactive particles of debris and soil is called fallout.

American Scientist Online:

Fallout from Nuclear Weapons Tests and Cancer Risks

Increase in cancer rates among the population exposed to fallout is the signature of nuclear testing. Much we have learned about the cancer risk of radiation has been from studying fallout from nuclear testing.

Studies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing victims demonstrate increased incidence of leukemia and thyroid cancer within a decade of the bombing

Nuclear explosions – the basics

Nuclear reactions are either fusion or fission. In practice, bombs are either fission devices or a combination of fission and fusion reactions (thermonuclear bombs).

Both reactions produce radioactive products:
1) fission products
2) activation products (elements that become radioactive by absorption of an additional neutron)
3) leftover fissionable material that made up the construction of the bomb that isn’t fissioned during the explosion

Initially in a nuclear explosion, there is a large fireball within which everything is vaporized (the pulverization we saw in 9/11 Twin Towers explosion). The fireball sucks up soil and water and rises. As it cools it expands losing buoyancy. Settlement of the debris and soil in the cloud is determined by the strength and direction of prevailing winds. Rain can cause fallout to settle locally. (There was rain the day after 9/11) [REF].

Fallout is hence the deposition of microscopic particles from the radioactive dust cloud on the ground.

Specific radionuclides in fallout are implicated in fallout cancers [can talk about Sr –> bones –> leukemias etc]

Route of exposure

The mushroom-shaped radioactive cloud moves downwind and disperses. Larger particles spread locally; small particles move further out, it may travel around the world and produce global fallout.

Populations in the fallout area are exposed to external and internal irradiation. External irradiation comes from highly penetrating gamma rays. Internal irradiation comes from ingestion, inhalation or absorption via the skin of radioactive particles. Internal irradiation results in an increased risk of stomach and colon cancer.

Activity of fallout radiation is measured in becquerels (Bq) and is defined as the number of radioactive disintegrations per second.

In the case of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the bombs (pure fission bombs) were detonated at relatively high altitudes and resulted in minimal fallout. Most of the injuries of victims within a 5-kilometer radius were due to heat and shockwaves. Direct radiation was a major factor within a radius of 3-kilometers.

Radiation dose

Radionuclides emit beta (electron) radiation and gamma (photon) radiation. There is a cascade of events after tissue is exposed to radiation. Atoms are ionized by removal of weakly bonded electrons. Radiation damages DNA by either directly interacting with it and causing ionization damage or by creating highly reactive chemical species that damage DNA.

Gray (Gy) is a measurement of radiation absorption.

1 Gy = 1 joule (J) of radiation energy absorbed per kilogram of tissue

Fallout and cancer risk

Increased cancer risk is the major long-term concern of fallout. The two most cancers commonly seen with fallout from nuclear testing are thyroid cancer and leukemia. Thyroid cancer is a rare disease overall. The highest risk of radiation-induced thyroid cancer is in young women exposed to fallout as children. There was an increase in thyroid cancer among the survivors of Chernobyl.

Radiation-induced leukemia is usually from highly penetrating gamma rays. These rays affect all organs. They can penetrate to the bone marrow and cause cancers of blood cells. Leukemia is considered the sentinel radiation effect as it appears relatively soon after exposure to radiation and there are high rates of leukemia in the exposed as compared to the unexposed.

Fallout studies show the risk of cancer as a radiation-related risk persists throughout life for those exposed to radiation.