Cancer Risks pp 143-153 | Cite as

Assessment of Cancer Risks Due to Ionizing Radiations

  • A. M. Kellerer
Conference paper

Abstract

The enduring controversy on nuclear energy and the recent reactor accident have made ionizing radiation one of the most widely discussed tumor-inducing agents, although compared with major contributors, such as tobacco, its role appears to be minor. There is also little doubt that ionizing radiation is probably the one carcinogen which has been most extensively studied. X-rays were discovered in 1895, and 17 years passed before physicists began to understand their nature. But it took merely a few weeks before the first skin lesions were seen, and only 7 years before an X-ray induced skin cancer was recognized (Frieben 1902). In 1911 when Max von Laue obtained the first X-ray diffraction patterns in Munich, von Jagie et al. (1911) in Berlin reported a cluster of five leukemias in radiologists. The lesson was learned slowly. The hands of radiologists were less widely used as routine test objects for focusing the X-ray equipment, but scattered radiation or even the primary beam were not generally avoided, and before long leukemia became the professional affliction of radiologists.

Keywords

Leukemia Uranium Radium Tuberculosis Explosive 

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

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  • A. M. Kellerer

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