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Radiation Epidemiology Branch Research Areas

DCEG investigators in the Radiation Epidemiology Branch (REB) conduct research that informs radiation protection, addresses public health and clinical needs, and develops innovative dosimetry methods and tools to help further these research goals.

Medical Radiation Exposures

Exposure to medical radiation has increased dramatically among the U.S. population. DCEG researchers are assessing cancer risks associated with these exposures, especially newer, higher dose diagnostic tests and treatments, radiation treatment for benign diseases, and late effects of radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and other cancer treatment.

Selected studies include:

Pediatric CT Scans and Cancer
A retrospective cohort study to evaluate the relationship between radiation exposure from CT scans conducted during childhood and adolescence and the subsequent development of cancer

Pediatric Proton and Photon Therapy Comparison Cohort
A large-scale multi-center retrospective cohort to investigate second cancers after photon versus proton radiotherapy in children being treated for cancer.  

Second Primary Cancers
DCEG investigators are actively engaged in research to address risks associated with treatment-related second cancers, lifestyle, environmental, and medical history factors, and genetic susceptibility

Learn more about our studies on medical radiation exposures.

Environmental Radiation Exposures

REB scientists are studying cancer risks among populations exposed to radiation from environmental sources, such as nuclear reactor accidents and fallout from weapons testing. In addition, they are studying cancer risks from background radiation and ultraviolet radiation. Select studies include:

Background Radiation and Ultraviolet Radiation

Childhood Leukemia and Background Radiation
A record linkage study designed to investigate the association of childhood leukemia with natural background radiation exposure.

Ultraviolet Radiation Exposure and Cancer Risks
Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is the primary risk factor for skin cancer. Investigators are using the U.S. Radiologic Technologists Cohort to further understand the risks of UVR exposure.

Nuclear Reactor Accidents and Fallout from Weapons and Weapons Testing

Atomic Bomb Survivors
Studies of atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, including updates to cancer incidence, radiation dose risk assessment, and molecular genetics studies.

Chernobyl Nuclear Accident
DCEG researchers have been conducting epidemiologic, molecular genomic, and dosimetric research on health effects to populations exposed to radiation by the 1986 Chernobyl accident in Ukraine.

Occupational Radiation Exposures

DCEG researchers are studying cancer risks among populations (called cohorts) who have been occupationally exposed to radiation for varying periods of time. These populations include:

Chernobyl Clean-up Workers
Studies of leukemia and other hematological diseases in a large cohort of clean-up workers exposed to radiation after the Chernobyl accident. Learn more about our research on the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

Interventional Fluoroscopists
A large cohort of radiologists and other physicians assembled to determine the contribution of occupational exposure to ionizing radiation to cancer mortality.

U.S. Radiologic Technologists
A prospective cohort study of 146,022 radiologic technologists designed to evaluate risks of cancer and other health effects associated with protracted exposure to low-to-moderate radiation doses.

Dosimetry for Radiation Studies

DCEG scientists combine advanced radiation dosimetry research with high-quality exposure assessments to support epidemiological studies. REB dosimetrists develop cutting-edge methods to estimate individualized organ-specific doses. They also evaluate and quantify the sources of uncertainty in their dose estimates, which can then be taken into account in risk analyses. Recent examples of dosimetry with uncertainty estimates include:

Learn more about Radiation Dosimetry Research.

Cancer Survivorship

DCEG scientists seeks to improve the clinical care and quality of life of cancer survivors by increasing understanding of the adverse effects of treatment through trans-disciplinary epidemiological and genetics studies. Learn more about the Cancer Survivorship Research Unit.