Delayed Effects
Exposure to radiation causes no pain, and the cancers such radiation can cause often take years to develop. The two curves shown above, based on observations of the atomic bomb victims, reveal that leukaemia and other cancers start to appear well after the initial exposure. It takes up to seven years for leukaemia counts to reach their maximum, and around forty years for other cancers. These long delays make it almost impossible to attribute an individual cancer to one specific radiation burst.