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Main paths of radioactivity into the human body and cases of thyroid cancer

Thyroid operation

Greenpeace expects up to 60,000 cases of thyroid cancer

The number of people who could eventually die as a result of the Chernobyl accident is highly controversial.

An extra 9,000 cancer deaths are expected by the UN-led Chernobyl Forum. But it says most people's problems are "economic and psychological, not health or environmental".

Campaign group Greenpeace is among those to predict more serious health effects. It expects up to 93,000 extra cancer deaths, with other illnesses taking the toll as high as 200,000.

The most obvious health impact is a sharp increase in thyroid cancer. About 4,000 cases of the disease have been seen, mainly in people who were children or adolescents at the time.

Survival rates are high and only 15 people are known to have died. But Greenpeace says there could eventually be 60,000 cases of the disease, among 270,000 cases of all cancers.


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