Race and Ethnic Group Dependent Space Radiation Cancer Risk Predictions

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Publication Date


Publication Title

Scientific Reports






Future space missions by national space agencies and private industry, including space tourism, will include a diverse makeup of crewmembers with extensive variability in age, sex, and race or ethnic groups. The relative risk (RR) model is used to transfer epidemiology data between populations to estimate radiation risks. In the RR model cancer risk is assumed to be proportional to background cancer rates and limited by other causes of death, which are dependent on genetic, environmental and dietary factors that are population dependent. Here we apply the NSCR-2020 model to make the first predictions of age dependent space radiation cancer risks for several U.S. populations, which includes Asian-Pacific Islanders (API), Black, Hispanic (white and black), and White (non-Hispanic) populations. Results suggest that male API and Hispanic populations have the overall lowest cancer risks, while White females have the highest risk. Blacks have similar total cancer rates than Whites, however their reduced life expectancy leads to modestly lower lifetime radiation risks compared to Whites. There are diverse tissue specific cancer risk ranking across sex and race, which include sex specific organ risks, female’s having larger lung, stomach, and urinary-bladder radiation risks, and male’s having larger colon and brain risks.

Controlled Subject

Cancer; Race relations; Ethnic relations


Cancer Biology | Race and Ethnicity

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