Bay Area MDs who specialize in radiation exposure?
March 23, 2011 10:36 PM   Subscribe

Posting for a friend in Tokyo who is concerned about health effects of radiation. Am seeking referrals for medical doctors in the San Francisco Bay Area who specialize in diagnosis and/or treatment of radiation exposure.
posted by Napoleonic Terrier to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I doubt many doctors specialize in the treatment of radiation exposure because it's such a rare occurrence. Most of the doctors who focus on it are likely researchers, not practitioners. The main concern if exposed to radioactive iodine is the occurrence of thyroid problems, such as thyroid cancer. In that case, an ear, nose, and throat doctor is probably most appropriate (since that's who deals with initial thyroid stuff), or a doctor who specifically specializes in treatment of thyroid cancer.
posted by elpea at 10:53 PM on March 23, 2011

Not to be unhelpful, but if his exposure was limited to just being a resident of Tokyo (and not, say, being an emergency worker at the power plant), I doubt there's a reputable physician in the world who won't just say some variation on "don't worry about it" and send him on his way.

We have no known reason to think the levels of exposure experienced by a typical Tokyo resident these past few days are dangerous. And even if they were, there aren't many options for meaningful diagnosis or treatment, except for somewhat more aggressive monitoring of the possibility of cancer, At most, they could monitor for that. And maybe recommend iodine tablets.

(Not a doctor)
posted by kickingtheground at 11:00 PM on March 23, 2011 [6 favorites]

And maybe recommend iodine tablets.

but don't just guzzle them down...
posted by russm at 1:27 AM on March 24, 2011

IANAD, but, really, unless your friend is actually working in the power plant, get a grip.

This handy infographic of comparative radiation exposure may help put some things in perspective:

Note that the 3 workers who were found to have been exposed to high radiation doses have received around 170 mSv. That's well above their annual allowed dose, and they will no longer working at the site for the next year or so. Their lifetime cancer risk has likely increased, also. It's unlikely your friend has received a comparable dose, where there would be a measurable risk compared to all the other things that your friend may do in life (e.g., smoking, second hand smoking, etc.)
posted by chengjih at 6:27 AM on March 24, 2011 [5 favorites]

What are your friend's symptoms?
posted by mr_roboto at 11:35 AM on March 24, 2011

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