Research Article

Radiation Exposure and Thyroid Cancer Development in Operating Room Staff


  • Şiyar Ersöz
  • Yasemin Konuk
  • Nazmi Onur Okudur
  • Volkan Genç

Received Date: 30.09.2022 Accepted Date: 26.12.2022 J Ankara Univ Fac Med 2022;75(4):497-500


Radiation exposure is one of the important known risk factors for thyroid cancers. The most common type of cancer in individuals exposed to radiation is papillary thyroid cancer. Papillary thyroid cancer requires an exposure of at least 5-10 years and an average of 20 miliSievert per year.

Materials and Methods:

Radiological examinations performed in the operating room create intense radiation exposure on healthcare personnel. Fifty-eight health personnel randomly selected working in the Ankara University Faculty of Medicine operating room and who were predicted to have radiation exposure, were given thyroid ultrasonography for thyroid nodule and malignancy control.


Ultrasonographic imaging was normal in 28 of the participants. In 3 of the remaining 30 participants, thyroiditis was detected. Nodules of <5 mm in size were detected in 15 participants, and they were included in the follow-up program at 6-month intervals. Nodules measuring >1 cm were observed in 5 of 12 participants, and nodules measuring 5-10 mm were observed in 7 of 12 participants. According to American Thyroid Association (ATA) classification criteria, fine needle aspiration biopsy of 5 highly suspicious and 2 moderately suspicious nodules was performed by the same surgeon, accompanied by onsite cytological evaluation. Cytology results were reported as Bethesda Type 6 in 3, Type 5 in 1, Type 3 in 1 and Type 1 in 2 cases.


Considering the working conditions, operating room workers experience more radiation exposure than the general population and the other healthcare workers. While the rate of detection of malignancy in thyroid nodules in the general population is 5%, cancer was detected in 4 (14.8%) out of 27 healthcare workers, which are evaluated according to ATA classification, in our study, which is approximately 3 times the rate of the general population. Considering that thyroid nodules and cancer may develop over the years after cumulative exposure, we believe that although there is no screening program for thyroid cancer, it is necessary to screen for thyroid cancer with ultrasonography in those working in areas with high radiation exposure.

Keywords: Thyroid Cancer, Radiation Exposure, Operating Room Staff, Screening

Full Text (Turkish)