The work conducted on the health of populations exposed to radiation as part of the French-German Initiative (FGI) focused on the principal health indicators that might show an excess incidence of cancer after a relatively long latency period.
No clear difference in leukemia incidence trends was observed between exposed and
unexposed regions in Ukraine, Belarus or Russia.
Incidence rates for solid tumors tended to increase similarly over time in all regions.
In contrast, the incidence rate of thyroid cancers in the exposed regions rose substantially, especially among those younger than ten years at the time of the accident. Analysis of the national cancer registry in Belarus revealed a sharp rise in the number of thyroid cancers recorded in children younger than 15 years, which began at the start of the 1990s. It also showed an unmistakable increase in these cancers since 1998, in the 15-29 year age group. In this exposed population, therefore, the risk of thyroid cancer continues 20 years after the accident.
Trends for congenital malformations did not differ discernibly between the exposed and unexposed regions.