After chest radiation, girls at greater risk for early breast cancer: study

June 4, 2012
After chest radiation, girls at greater risk for early breast cancer: study
Even those childhood cancer survivors who got low doses should be screened yearly, researchers say.

(HealthDay) -- Girls who receive radiation to the chest to treat childhood cancer, even those getting lower doses, have a high risk of developing breast cancer at a young age, according to a new study.

Researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City said the risk posed by radiation may be as great as that of the BRCA1/2 mutation. Previously, it was thought that only moderate to high doses of radiation raised , but the new research showed that even those who got low doses face an increased risk and may warrant early screening for the disease.

"While have decreased and techniques have improved, radiation is still an essential part of therapy for many childhood cancers," said the study's lead author, Chaya Moskowitz, an associate member and associate attending biostatistician at the cancer center, in a news release from the . "The goal is to maximize the cure rates for while minimizing future health problems," Moskowitz said.

The researchers examined information on 1,200 women in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study and 4,570 women who are first-degree relatives of participants in the Women's Environmental Cancer and Radiation Epidemiology Study, which involved women diagnosed with breast cancer who survived at least one year after diagnosis.

Among the , 24 percent were diagnosed with breast cancer by the time they were 50 years old. Moreover, 30 percent who survived Hodgkin's lymphoma developed breast cancer. In comparison, the incidence of breast cancer by age 50 was 31 percent among the carriers of a .

The researchers said the roughly 50,000 women in the United States who were treated with higher doses of radiation when they were younger should get an annual mammogram and breast MRI either by the time they are 25 years old or eight years after their .

Another 7,000 to 9,000 women received lower-dose radiation to treat childhood cancer, the researchers said. "Our results suggest that young women treated with lower doses of radiation who are not currently being screened also have an elevated risk of breast cancer and might benefit from a similar screening strategy," Moskowitz added.

Treatment with a lower dose of chest radiation reduced the incidence of to 7 percent by the age of 40 compared to 12 percent for the women treated with higher doses of chest radiation, the researchers found.

The study was scheduled for presentation Monday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

Data and conclusions presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Explore further: Breast cancer survivors struggle with cognitive problems several years after treatment

More information:
The U.S. National Cancer Institute provides more information on breast cancer risk.


Related Stories

Breast cancer survivors struggle with cognitive problems several years after treatment

December 12, 2011
A new analysis has found that breast cancer survivors may experience problems with certain mental abilities several years after treatment, regardless of whether they were treated with chemotherapy plus radiation or radiation ...

Recommended for you

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

Researchers develop swallowable test to detect pre-cancerous Barrett's esophagus

January 17, 2018
Investigators at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center have developed a simple, swallowable test for early detection of Barrett's esophagus that offers promise ...

Scientists zoom in to watch DNA code being read

January 17, 2018
Scientists have unveiled incredible images of how the DNA code is read and interpreted—revealing new detail about one of the fundamental processes of life.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.