Radiation for Hodgkin’s disease puts women at greater risk for breast cancer

April 7, 2010

Women exposed to radiation therapy for Hodgkin’s disease have a relative risk 7.7 times greater than the general population of developing breast cancer, according to a study presented at the European Congress of Radiology in Vienna, in March.

Women exposed to radiation therapy for Hodgkin’s disease have a relative risk 7.7 times greater than the general population of developing breast cancer, according to a study presented at the European Congress of Radiology in Vienna, in March.

European Congress of Radiology in Vienna, in March. Dr. Andrea Luparia, from the University of Torino in Italy, and colleagues retrospectively studied 43 women treated with radiation therapy for Hodgkin’s disease between 1980 and 2009. Six invasive breast cancers were detected by mammography in five of the 43 women. Breast cancer was diagnosed following a median latent period from radiotherapy of 13.3 years. Average radiation dose was 33.6 Gy while in women who developed breast cancer it was 37.9 Gy.

For women treated for Hodgkin’s disease with radiation therapy, no-dose breast imaging options should be considered, the authors said. Of women with high-density breasts, those younger than 30 should be monitored with ultrasound and MR. Those older than 30 should be monitored with ultrasound, mammography, and MR.