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A-bomb victims’ cancerous hazard persistence

Yoshiko, my aunt, was seventeen when A-bombed. Myelodysplasia was found when she was eighty five.

She had long been suffering severe anemic fatigue even before her diagnosis. No cure had been found for her anemia, so she took a bone marrow examination, and doctors found the disease. She was told that the disease would eventually turn into leukemia, spent the rest of her life as if living on thin ice. She passed away of leukemia at ninety.

Myelodysplastic syndrome is known for its risks getting higher as young victims getting older, and being closer to the center of A-bomb explosion.

When my aunt was still with us, she asked me “what did I do wrong?” After the bombing, her family shared canned foods found at ruins of canning factory. She asked me time and time again if that was the cause. Had they not eaten then, they may have died of malnutrition or starvation. I think they had no choice. Remaining radiation on canned foods may have been the cause, or she and her family may have been exposed to and inhaled radioactive fallout during factory excavation.

We don’t know the exact cause, but her disease was most likely caused by radiation, and it informs us that symptoms could appear years later from the exposure.

Keiko Fukuyama 2023 © All rights reserved.
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