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Childhood cancer survivors face future risks due to radiation

Researchers at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York found that 24 percent of women treated with chest radiation for any childhood cancer develop breast cancer by age 50.

Breast cancer testEnlarge
A new study found that childhood cancer survivors treated with chest radiation are at risk of breast cancer in the future. (Wikimedia/Wikimedia commons)

A new study has found childhood cancer survivors treated with radiation in the chest are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer in the future.

Researchers at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York found that 24 percent of women treated with chest radiation for any childhood cancer develop breast cancer by age 50.

MedPage Today reported that researchers looked at 1300 cancer survivors 26 years after they were cured and found that 175 of them had developed breast cancer around the age of 40.

The study also found that women diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma as children, a cancer treated with heavy doses of chest radiation, had a 30 percent chance of developing breast cancer.

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The average risk for an American woman - who did not have a childhood cancer - developing breast cancer by age 50 is four percent, reported the Associated Press.

The study found that even girls who were treated with low doses of radiation were still at a significant risk for breast cancer in the future.

USA Today reported that about 60,000 women in the United States have had chest radiation as children and that 12,500 children are diagnosed with cancer every year.

Researchers said that screening for breast cancer in those who had childhood cancers may have to begin earlier.

Already, children receive much smaller doses of radiation today than two or three decades ago.

The study was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/120604/childhood-cancer-survivors-face-future-risks-due-radiation