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Families of Fukushima thyroid cancer patients launch support group

Families of children in Fukushima Prefecture who were diagnosed with thyroid cancer through health checkups conducted by the prefectural government in the wake of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster launched a family association on March 12.

    The "311 Thyroid Cancer Family Group" has been established with a goal of patients and their families interacting to share information regarding treatment and to reach out to the central and prefectural governments over the issue of child thyroid cancer in Fukushima.

    By the end of 2015, a total of 166 people who were 18 years old or younger at the time of the nuclear meltdowns in March 2011 had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer or suspected of having thyroid cancer.

    The association members held a news conference on March 12 with the fathers of two thyroid cancer patients joining the conference via the Internet.

    "It was painful to be told out of the blue that my son has cancer," said a father of a thyroid cancer patient who was aged between 11 and 19 at the onset of the Fukushima crisis, adding, "I was helped just by talking to those who can share each other's feelings. I believe that there are a lot of people who are distressed (by their family members' illness), but I hope they find the courage to join the group."

    The annual fee for membership is set at 1,000 yen per family. For more information on admission and consultations, call 070-3132-9155 or email to, or find out more about the association at (in Japanese).

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