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Ionising radiation

Environmental Radioactivity - Medicine - Occupational Radiation Protection - Nuclear Hazards Defence

Ionisierende Strahlung

Program for the assessment of probability of causation of a disease by radiation exposure (ProZES)

  • The probability of causation plays an important role in claims for compensation of occupational diseases.
  • Whether a cancer disease has been triggered by previous radiation exposure, cannot be determined by its clinical picture. In fact, only the probability that radiation exposure has caused the disease can be calculated.
  • The ProZES Software estimates the probability that a previous radiation exposure for a specific person and a given exposure situation has resulted in cancer.
  • The values calculated by ProZES are supposed to serve as orientation for experts.

ProZES: A tool in Claims for Radiation-induced Occupational Diseases

ProZES is a program that allows to estimate the probability that a previous radiation exposure of a specific person and in a given exposure situation has resulted in cancer. This probability plays an important role in the estimation of the individual radiation risk, for example, with respect to the allowance of claims for radiation-induced occupational diseases. The Institute of Radiation Protection at the Helmholtz Zentrum München developed ProZES by order of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and the Federal Office of Radiation Protection (BfS). The software is a tool to support decision making on compensation claims following occupational exposure to radiation. The target user group are experts with the respective scientific background.

ProZES is a tool for experts in claims for compensation of radiation-induced occupational diseases. It is based on current models of radiation risk and employs country-specific demographic and incidence data for Germany.

Required input data include

  • birth year and gender,
  • type of tumor and year of diagnosis,
  • radiation type and dose or exposure, respectively.

The software calculates the distribution of the probability of causation. The software currently provided is a test version and can be downloaded free of charge from this website.

One-year Test Phase

During a test phase of one year, we collect users’ experience with the program.
If you notice errors in the test version or if you have comments, please send an email to ProZES@bfs.de.

Further Development

After the test phase, a new version will be developed considering the collected experience.

The new version shall allow the calculation of probability of causation for lung cancer in uranium miners for a broader range of exposure situations. If available, the new incidence data of the Life Span Study in atomic bomb survivors will be implemented. In addition, the feasibility of a web-based version will be considered.

Scope of Servicesshow / hide

The program calculates the distribution of the probability of causation, that is, the probability that a previous radiation exposure for a specific person and a given exposure situation has resulted in cancer. This cumulative probability distribution is displayed graphically. A report gives the median value (50 % probability of causation) and confidence intervals. Additionally, a detailed table with percentiles of the probability distribution is available.

For the calculations current models of radiation risk are used based mainly on cancer incidence data in the cohort of the atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As ProZES was developed for the German population, country-specific demographic and incidence data for Germany are applied. More details are given in the program’s help-file or more detailed in the technical report.

Features of ProZESshow / hide

  • Calculations are possible

    • for diseases diagnosed 1999 or later
    • for nearly all primary cancers (except multiple myeloma and multiple cancer sites).
  • Incidence data and demographic data employed are specific for Germany.
  • Specific models are applied for the following cancer sites: colon, stomach, skin (non-melanoma cancer), female breast, cervix, and thyroid gland.
  • For all other cancer sites, group models are applied (seven groups for solid cancers and four groups for hematopoietic malignancies).
  • For all diagnoses, except for lung cancer, only exposure to low LET radiation is taken into account. The user has to specify the equivalent dose in mSv.
  • For lung cancer, also high LET radiation after exposure to radon can be considered for indoor exposure (in Bq/m³) and exposure in mining (in Working Level Months). In the current version, calculations for lung cancer after occupational radon exposure in Wismut mining are only valid for cases first employed at Wismut 1960 or later and diagnosed at latest 15 years after the last exposure.
  • The following types of dose distributions are supported: normal, uniform, triangle, and log-normal.
  • The user’s input-files can be saved in external files (Excel files) for later use.
  • The result of calculations is reported as a cumulative probability distribution of the probability of causation. It is presented as a plot and a report with information on the processed data and resulting statistics (median value and confidence intervals). Additionally, a detailed table with percentiles of the probability distribution is available.
  • The user can save the figure of the cumulative probability distribution and the report in PNG and PDF format, respectively.

Advantages of ProZESshow / hide

For Germany to date the radiation epidemiologic tables published 1995 by Chemelevsky, Nekolla and Barclay were available for the calculation of the probability of causation for radiation-induced malignancies (in hard copy). They provide point estimates for the probability of causation as a function of tumor type, gender, age at exposition and age at diagnosis.

ProZES represents a substantial improvement compared to the radiation epidemiologic tables as it considers

  • recent scientific findings,
  • relies on current data and
  • quantifies the uncertainty associated with the calculated probability of causation.

For the USA an interactive calculation program (Interactive RadioEpidemiological Program, IREP) is available since 2002. This program also provides the uncertainty associated with the calculated probability of causation. As ProZES uses specific population data and cancer rates for the German population, whereas IREP uses data for the US population, ProZES is more adequate for the situation in Germany.

Legal Notes

License terms for the test version of the ProZES software of the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) are included in the software and have to be accepted for setup.

Final Report

The final report of the research project is available at DORIS - the Digital Online Repository and Information System of the BfS.

Literature

Chemelevsky D, Nekolla E, Barclay D. Strahlenepidemiologische Tabellen. Die Berechnung von Verursachungswahrscheinlichkeiten bösartiger Neubildungen nach vorausgegangener Strahlenexposition. Schriftenreihe Reaktorsicherheit und Strahlenschutz 1995; BMU-1995-420.

Kocher DC, Apostoaei AI, Henshaw RW, et al. Interactive RadioEpidemiological Program (IREP): a web-based tool for estimating probability of causation/assigned share of radiogenic cancers. Health Physics 2008; 95:119-47. doi: 10.1097/01.HP.0000291191.49583.f7

State of 2017.03.24

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