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Increased risk of developing lung cancer after radiotherapy for breast cancer
Date:4/6/2014

bsolute risk of developing a second lung cancer is small, the researchers showed that among women who had survived breast cancer for at least five years, the relative risk of subsequently developing a lung cancer increased by 8.5% per delivered Gy to the lung.

"These results show that the risk of second lung cancer after radiotherapy in early breast cancer patients is associated with the delivered dose to the lung," said Dr Grantzau.

"It is, however, important to place the risk of getting a radiation-induced second lung cancer in a perspective that is balanced with the known benefits of radiotherapy in the adjuvant treatment of breast cancer. Post-operative radiotherapy in breast cancer patients decreases the likelihood of breast cancer recurrence and improves overall survival. The challenge for radiation oncologists is to reduce the delivered dose of radiotherapy in a way that minimises the dose to the normal tissue to avoid radiation-induced malignancies, without compromising its efficacy in the cancerous breast tissue."

She added: "Furthermore, clinicians should be continually advising breast cancer patients to quit smoking in order to reduce their risk of developing lung cancer. It's important to emphasise that the risk of getting a tobacco-induced lung cancer is much higher than the risk of getting a radiation-induced second lung cancer.

Professor Vincenzo Valentini, president of ESTRO and a radiation oncologist at the Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli, Rome, Italy, commented: "This research shows the importance of monitoring the safety of radiotherapy procedures so that we can use the information gained to achieve a good balance between the risks and benefits of a particular treatment. Reducing the radiation dose to normal tissue is always beneficial, and knowing the exact target and the best radiation dose will help to reduce any long-term side-effects of a therapy that research has long shown to be instrumental in hel
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO)
Source:Eurekalert

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