Introduction and objective:
The Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in 1986 is one of the most tragic in human history. In addition to the immediate effects as a result of the release of many radioactive isotopes, the distant health consequences play a huge role. Their scale is enormous and, at the same time, very difficult to determine precisely. One of the most significant aspects associated with a reactor accident, is the risk of cancer, even many years after the incident itself. The aim of the review is an attempt to provide an insight into the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident as a factor affecting thyroid cancer.

Brief description of the state of knowledge:
Most studies have consistently shown a significant effect of ionising radiation on the increased risk of thyroid cancer. Large amounts of radioisotopes released into the atmosphere have a well-documented effect on the occurrence of various thyroid gland cancers. In addition to methods of radiation absorption, such as inhalation of radionuclides, significant pathways of radiation exposure through the ingestion of contaminated milk or, for example, the effects of nitrates, have been described. The potential impact of radiation on thyroid tumours depends on the age group, gender and radiation dose received. Specific genetic mutations are also increasingly well studied and documented. Individual studies, however, cast doubt on the relevance of the correlation between the occurrence of thyroid cancer and the Chernobyl accident.

In view of the huge population effect of the Chernobyl disaster, it seems justified to carry out a thorough analysis of its aftermath – including long-term effects. This will not only allow us to improve our knowledge of the impact of radiation on cancer, but also, perhaps, enable more effective prevention in the event of similar incidents in the future.

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