A new study reported in Deutsches Arzteblatt International concluded that girls treated with radiotherapy for Hodgkins disease during adolescence acquire a considerable risk of developing breast cancer based upon long term observational data. Five hundred ninety girls were followed for secondary breast cancer from 1978 to 1995 for a long period of time (average 17.8 years, maximun 33 years). Researchers estimated 19% of the girls treated with radiotherapy for Hodgkin’s disease developed secondary breast cancer within 30 years as a result of that therapy. Because of these findings this high risk population is now evaluated by a structured screening program for breast cancer. The researchers recommended that when supradiaphragmatic radiotherapy is necessary in girls over the age of 9, the parts of the chest exposed to the radiation should be kept as small as medically necessary to keep the risk of secondary breast cancer as low as possible.
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