It’s hard to definitely connect a disease to an exposure to a toxin. There are various estimates of how many children got thyroid cancer after Chernobyl, the International Atomic Energy Agency, in a strangely upbeat post , says four thousand. The World Health Organization says five thousand, with a little more consideration of the implications. Other cancers also were increased after the disaster.
Yan Leyfman suffered painful, relentless and unexplained illnesses all during his early childhood. Now a student in the US, he is researching cancer as his mother survives cancer treatment. They believe they are victims of radiation exposure.
STONY BROOK, N.Y. — Yan Leyfman was born in Belarus in 1989, three years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. His family lived only about 75 miles from the nuclear plant, and as a toddler, Mr. Leyfman had a constellation of mysterious symptoms: cysts that covered his entire body, fingernails that fell out, limbs that were swollen and skin that itched torturously.
Though he recovered his health after moving to Brooklyn at age 5, Chernobyl still followed him.
Leyfman is a young cancer researcher, driven to find a cure for his mother and answers for himself.
At this time, the ruins of Chernobyl are still dangerous, Ukraine and the international community are trying to raise the 2 billion it will cost to entomb the reactor before the temporary structure fails.