A new report out from TEPCO reports that 15 workers at the plant have developed cancer (as of Mar 2017). These cancers are considered sufficiently linked to their work at the plant during the initial disaster and during the subsequent effort to regain control of the site. So far TEPCO has only acknowledged one such worker as having gotten cancer as a result of working at the site.
Of the 15 workers, 8 have developed leukaemia, 5 have developed malignant lymphoma and a further 2 workers have multiple myeloma. This number does not include other response workers such as Self Defence Forces (Japans army) or Tokyo Fire Department workers who also responded to the disaster at the plant. It also does not include any of the temporary workers brought in by yakuza-affiliated organisations.
One of the 15 seeking labour compensation for his subsequent development of three types of cancer… The man was diagnosed with bladder, stomach and colon cancers between June 2012 and May 2013 after taking part in work to clear debris with heavy machinery. He was exposed to 56.41 millisieverts of radiation in total while working to clear debris with heavy machinery at Fukushima Daiichi. It is extremely rare to develop three types of cancer at almost the same time.
As of March 2017, 185 children in Fukushima Prefecture had been diagnosed with aggressive and fast-growing, or already metastasizing, thyroid cancer, against an expected number of 1 to 5 cases per year, the report notes. For 16 of these children, a “screening effect” can be excluded, because their cancers developed within the past 2 years. An additional 50 children have been diagnosed with suspected thyroid carcinoma. However a team off Japanese doctors in the prefecture say that the nuclear disaster cannot be linked to radiation.
Treatment of thyroid cancer in children has a high success rate, with some 95% cured. Nonetheless, the removal of the thyroid gland has undesirable side effects.