Updated investigations of cancer excesses in individuals born or resident in the vicinity of Sellafield and Dounreay.
Bunch KJ., Vincent TJ., Black RJ., Pearce MS., McNally RJ., McKinney PA., Parker L., Craft AW., Murphy MF.
BACKGROUND: Earlier studies have shown raised risks of leukaemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma in children, teenagers and young adults resident either at birth or diagnosis in Seascale. Some increases in cancer risk in these age groups have also been noted among those living around Dounreay. We aimed to update previous analyses relating to areas close to these nuclear installations by considering data from an additional 16 years of follow-up. METHODS: Cross-sectional analyses compared cancer incidence rates for 1963-2006 among those aged 0-24 years at diagnosis living in geographically specified areas around either Sellafield or Dounreay with general population rates. Cancer incidence for the period 1971-2006 among the cohort of Cumbrian births between 1950 and 2006 was compared to national incidence for 1971-2006 using person-years analysis. Cancer among those born in the postcode sector closest to Dounreay was compared with that among those born in the three adjoining postcode sectors. Analyses considered both cancer overall and ICD-O-3 defined diagnostic subgroups including leukaemia, central nervous system tumours and other malignancies. RESULTS: Apart from previously reported raised risks, no new significantly increased risks for cancer overall or any diagnostic subgroup were found among children or teenagers and young adults living around either nuclear installation. Individuals born close to the installations from 1950 to 2006 were not shown to be at any increased risk of cancer during the period 1971 to date. CONCLUSIONS: Analysis of recent data suggests that children, teenagers and young adults currently living close to Sellafield and Dounreay are not at an increased risk of developing cancer. Equally, there is no evidence of any increased cancer risk later in life among those resident in these areas at birth.