No increased risk of cancer near Sellafield or Dounreay in recent years

July 23, 2014

Children, teenagers and young adults living near Sellafield or Dounreay since the 1990s are not at an increased risk of developing cancer according to research published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Researchers from the Childhood Cancer Research Group at the University of Oxford and from Newcastle University studied cancer rates between 1963 and 2006 among those who were under 25 and living near Sellafield or Dounreay when diagnosed.

No difference was found in cancer incidence from 1991-2006 between those living near these nuclear and the general population. But the study confirmed the raised risks of cancer, particularly leukaemia, already reported for earlier time periods.

Kathryn Bunch, lead author on the study, said: "For many years, there have been concerns over the potential raised cancer risk among people – particularly children – who live near nuclear installations. This study found that children, teenagers and young adults living close to Sellafield and Dounreay are no longer at an increased risk of developing cancer.

"Furthermore, there is no evidence of any increased risk of cancer later in life for those who were born near these power plants."

The numbers of cancers observed around Sellafield and Dounreay were compared with those expected from national cancer registration rates using census derived population estimates.

Overall, leukaemia is the eleventh most common cancer in the UK, but it accounts for around a third of all cancers diagnosed in children.

Dr Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK's head of health information, said: "There has been a lot of concern that could increase the risk of , particularly leukaemia. This study is reassuring for anyone who happens to be living near a power plant, as it shows no among children, teenagers or young adults in recent years."

Explore further: Mixed data on child cancer rates near French nuclear sites

More information: "Updated investigations of cancer excesses in individuals born or resident in the vicinity of Sellafield and Dounreay." K J Bunch, T J Vincent, R J Black, M S Pearce, R J Q McNally, et al. British Journal of Cancer DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2014.357

Related Stories

Power lines don't raise risk of leukaemia in children

February 7, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—Children who live near overhead power lines in early life do not have a greater risk of developing childhood leukaemia, researchers from the Childhood Cancer Research Group at the University of Oxford have ...

Recommended for you

Combination therapy can prevent cytostatic resistance

November 26, 2015

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have found a new way of preventing resistance to cytostatics used in the treatment of cancers such as medulloblastoma, the most common form of malignant brain tumour in children. The promising ...

Forecasting the path of breast cancer in a patient

November 23, 2015

USC researchers have developed a mathematical model to forecast metastatic breast cancer survival rates using techniques usually reserved for weather prediction, financial forecasting and surfing the Web.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.