Radiation andPublic Health Project
Home About RPHP Projects Publications & Reports Journal Press Room
   
   

Nuclink: Journal of Current Radiation and Public Health Issues

Volume 1, Number 4
February 17, 1999
Published by RPHP
PO Box 60 Unionville, NY 10988
Editor: W.L. McDonnell
http://www.radiation.org

THE CURRENT CANCER EPIDEMIC AND THE BABY BOOM GENERATION

By Jay M. Gould, Director
Radiation and Public Health Project

INTRODUCTION
We have previously offered epidemiological evidence for our hypothesis that the American baby boom generation was born in the worst time in history, exposed in utero to the strontium-90 in the above-ground nuclear bomb test fallout in the years 1945-65. During these years such exposure to the equivalent of exploding 40,000 Hiroshima bombs resulted in a fifty-fold increase in the strontium-90 levels in baby teeth and a 50 percent increase in the percentage of underweight newborns.

Because the Low Birthweight Percentage has been rising again since 1980, we are now conducting a clinical analysis of strontium-90 levels in the teeth of children born in recent years, to determine the current harm from low-level radiation to newborn hormonal and immune systems.

In a series of published books and articles, RPHP has tracked the health effects of such radiation-induced harm to baby boomer immune systems in infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood. We will now seek to establish that as baby boomers reach the age of 45 in 1995, they are contracting and dying of both breast and prostate cancer at rates unprecedented in medical records going back to 1935.

Today young women, age 35 to 49, are increasingly being diagnosed with breast cancer. Similarly, men, age 45 to 54, are increasingly being diagnosed with prostate cancer. This has never happened before.

The documentary evidence offered below indicates that the current increase in breast and prostate cancer will continue well into the next century. The evidence is based upon the effects of the baby boomers as an age-group, altering the age-composition of the groups diagnosed with these two diseases.

Until 1980, white females aged 35 to 49 represented a declining percentage of all women over 35. Then the trend abruptly reversed, as baby boomer women born in 1945 reached the age of 35. Figure 1 displays this trend. Figure 2 shows a similar but later abrupt reversal for white males aged 45 to 54 as a percentage of all those over 45.

Figure 1
Figure 1

Until the 1980s almost all breast cancer cases were accounted for by women over 50, and almost all prostate cancer cases were reported for men over the age of 55. Breast and prostate cancer are primarily diseases of old age.

Since 1980, when those born in 1945 reached the age of 35, more and more baby boomers were added to the ranks of those being diagnosed. As a consequence, the age composition of all breast and prostate cancer cases has been considerably lowered, with some paradoxically anomalous results.

As the number of reported cases among younger persons mounts each year, the overall rate per 100,000 is declining. This is because the age-specific rate for baby boomers is so much lower than the rate for older persons. We shall show that this declining rate is temporary, for it will disappear as babyboomers reach the ages of 65 and 75 in the next century.

Figure 2
Figure 1

Unfortunately this current decline in the rates is being regarded in official circles as a victory in the War Against Cancer. For instance, in a recent publication of the American Cancer Society, Dr. David Rosenthal states that "SEER data confirm a decrease in mortality for each year from 1991 through 1995. The nation's cancer rate fell 2.6 percent in this period, the first sustained decline since record-keeping first began in the 1930s."

We demonstrate below that this current decline will cease as baby boomers become older. Furthermore, much of the decline represents the gradual dissipation of the enormous adverse impact on breast and prostate cancer from Chernobyl fallout arriving in the US in 1986. The fallout caused extraordinary increases in both incidence and mortality rates in the period 1986-1990, for all Black and White men and women.

(Sources: The recent data on the incidence of breast and prostate cancer comes from the Connecticut Tumor Registry, the oldest and best in the nation, going as far back as 1935. Comparable US data on cancer mortality is from federal publications. The CDC Wonder website now has much of this data available.)

More >