New York, NY (April 2009) -- An annual conference on thyroid cancer was held at the United Nations on Wednesday, April 15, to focus on the state-of-the-art treatment of thyroid cancer among millions of people around the world who were exposed to radiation after the Chernobyl nuclear accident in Ukraine on April 26, 1986.
The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary (NYEE) worked in partnership with Project Chernobyl, a community-led effort to diagnose and treat thyroid cancer, a risk among some 200,000 immigrants from the former Soviet Union who now live the New York area. Thyroid cancer from radiation exposure can take decades to develop.
The conference was chaired by Daniel I. Branovan, MD, FACS, Director of NYEE’s Thyroid Center, and President of Project Chernobyl.
Entitled “Living With Radiation: Treating Thyroid Cancer in the Era of Health Care Reform” the conference addressed issues related to the increasing cost of health care. Recommendations regarding new cost-effective diagnostic and treatment modalities were presented by an international group of thyroid cancer experts from major medical centers in the United States, Russia, Ukraine and European countries such as Italy. The conference was attended by some 150 medical personnel.
“This year marks the 23rd anniversary of the worst peacetime nuclear accident, and a significant increase in thyroid cancer has been documented among those exposed to its radiation,” said Dr. Branovan. “In addition, thyroid cancer is one of the few cancers on the rise in the US over the past 20 years, due to factors such as (1) exposure to radiation after nuclear tests which were conducted until the early 1960s, (2) medical treatments such as irradiating the neck of a child with infected tonsils, an accepted practice as recently as 30 years ago, and (3) increased use of ultrasound and better diagnostic equipment that finds cancers in earlier stages.”
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