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Probability of Causation for Space Radiation Carcinogenesis Following International Space Station, Near Earth Asteroid, and Mars MissionsCancer risk is an important concern for International Space Station (ISS) missions and future exploration missions. An important question concerns the likelihood of a causal association between a crew members radiation exposure and the occurrence of cancer. The probability of causation (PC), also denoted as attributable risk, is used to make such an estimate. This report summarizes the NASA model of space radiation cancer risks and uncertainties, including improvements to represent uncertainties in tissue-specific cancer incidence models for never-smokers and the U.S. average population. We report on tissue-specific cancer incidence estimates and PC for different post-mission times for ISS and exploration missions. An important conclusion from our analysis is that the NASA policy to limit the risk of exposure-induced death to 3% at the 95% confidence level largely ensures that estimates of the PC for most cancer types would not reach a level of significance. Reducing uncertainties through radiobiological research remains the most efficient method to extend mission length and establish effective mitigators for cancer risks. Efforts to establish biomarkers of space radiation-induced tumors and to estimate PC for rarer tumor types are briefly discussed.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Johnson Space Center
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Cucinotta, Francis A.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Kim, Myung-Hee Y.
(Universities Space Research Association Houston, TX, United States)
Chappell, Lori J.
(Universities Space Research Association Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 2012
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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