According to Wikipedia, Acute Radiation Syndrom (ARS) results from damage to

  1. DNA
  2. "other key molecular structures within the cells"

I'd like to know how relevant damage of the second kind is. Given that DNA damage in turn leads to cancer, the correlation between ARS and development of cancer might give at least a hint as to how important that second factor is.

So: How likely is a person to develop cancer, given he has already had ARS in the past?

1 Answer 1


From your link:

According to the linear no-threshold model, any exposure to ionizing radiation, even at doses too low to produce any symptoms of radiation sickness, can induce cancer due to cellular and genetic damage. Under this assumption survivors of acute radiation syndrome face an increased risk developing cancer later in life. The probability of developing cancer is a linear function with respect to the effective radiation dose

Again, according to the linear no-threshold model, which is used for US and much international legislation.

It is not possible to accurately know effective doses from only the ARS symptoms. The rough values are also mentioned in your link.

  • This is not what am asking for. I'm asking for the conditional probability. Of course the cancer risk depends on dosage. But how does the information that a person had ARS change the probability for him to get cancer?
    – wnrph
    Mar 23, 2016 at 9:22
  • Like I said, you can not accurately estimate the dose given only the symptoms. But using the rough values you can know the dose in Sievert. Then it is simple to calculate the probability of getting cancer, as the unit Sievert directly correlates with this chance.
    – jiggunjer
    Mar 23, 2016 at 11:53
  • But that is not the conditional probability. You are talking about P(A) while i'm talking about P(A|B)
    – wnrph
    Mar 23, 2016 at 14:02
  • Which in this case is the same. You're asking what the chance is, given a person had ARS. That is exactly the same as asking what the chance is, given an exposure to a dose of X Sievert. The fact that a person also had acute symptoms should not affect the long term effect.
    – jiggunjer
    Mar 24, 2016 at 1:42
  • Now I see your point. But does the dose really fully determine whether someone gets ARS without any randomness involved? I mean there has to be some gray area where some people don't get sick while others would not even if they were exposed to the same radiation dose.
    – wnrph
    Mar 24, 2016 at 10:06

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