Author: Masaharu Tsubokura
Editors: Akihiko Ozaki M.D., Yuki Senoo
135. Radioactive fallout from nuclear weapon testings
In the past, radiation exposure occurred in several occasions, including the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the World War II, atmospheric nuclear tests, and accidents at nuclear processing facilities and power plants.
After the Partial Test Ban Treaty, a treaty that prohibited all test detonations of nuclear weapons except for those conducted underground, was signed in 1968, no subsequent atmospheric nuclear tests have been undertaken by the government of the US, the former Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom. However, nuclear tests within the atmosphere were still conducted in some countries which refused to join the treaty, such as France and China.
In China, the Lopnor Experimental Site in the West Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is particularly famous. A nuclear test was undertaken there on December 28th, 1966, and its fallout reached Japan as well. It is reported that the radioactive substances fell in Wajima City (Ishikawa Prefecture) on December 30th, and in Yonago City (Tottori Prefecture) on January 1st, followed by Kagoshima, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Kochi Prefectures.
Of course, as explained in the previous articles several times, the impact of radiation on health is determined by the extent of the exposure dose. The amount of radioactive fallout reached Japan from this nuclear testing was not at a level that would cause adverse health effects on people in Japan.
On the other hand, the water and soil investigations in Japan have revealed small amounts of radioactive substances which root from nuclear weapon tests almost everywhere throughout Japan. Although their amounts are gradually decreasing, there is no place which is free from radioactive fallout.
136. Use of radiation in cancer treatment
Each cell in our bodies in different palaces have different functions and work while communicating with one another. Due to various causes, some of these cells start to grow and divide in an uncontrolled manner, and invade normal organs and functions necessary to maintain life. This condition is called a malignant tumor (so-called "cancer").
Parallel to the worldwide aging population, the number of "cancer" patients is increasing year by year all over the world. According to WHO (World Health Organization), it has been estimated that the worldwide number of new cases of cancer per year in 2012 was approximately 14 million and will increase to 22 million by 2030. In Japan, "cancer" has been the leading cause of death for more than 30 years.
The current treatment of cancer is focused on surgery, chemotherapy with anticancer drugs, and radiation therapy. While actual treatment is determined based on the stage and type of cancer, such as breast cancer and esophageal cancer, radiotherapy is a procedure in which malignant cells are exposed to radiation, and it has been shown to be no less effective than surgery or chemotherapy.
Although radiation is one of the various causes which lead to cancer development, it is also one of their effective treatments.
The Japanese version of the manuscript was originally published in Fukushima Minyu, a local newspaper in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, on 13th and 20th August 2017 was reproduced for MRIC Global under the author's permission.