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Mammography may increase breast cancer risk in some high-risk women
Date:12/1/2009

CHICAGO Low-dose radiation from annual mammography screening may increase breast cancer risk in women with genetic or familial predisposition to breast cancer, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"For women at high risk for breast cancer, screening is very important, but a careful approach should be taken when considering mammography for screening young women, particularly under age 30," said Marijke C. Jansen-van der Weide, Ph.D., epidemiologist in the Department of Epidemiology and Radiology at University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands. "Further, repeated exposure to low-dose radiation should be avoided."

Women who are at high risk for breast cancer need to begin screening at a younger age, because they often develop cancer earlier than women at average risk. However, according to Dr. Jansen-van der Weide and colleagues, young women with familial or genetic predisposition to the disease may want to consider alternative screening methods to mammography, because the benefit of early tumor detection in this group of women may be offset by the potential risk of radiation-induced cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, there is strong evidence supporting the benefits of mammography for women after age 40. However, there are conflicting reports regarding the benefits of mammography for women under 40. Alternative screening methods such as ultrasound and MRI may be made available to younger women, but are generally used as an adjunct to mammography.

The American Cancer Society recommends that some women at high risk (greater than 20 percent lifetime risk) should have MR imaging and mammography every year, typically beginning at age 30.

The researchers conducted an analysis of peer-reviewed, published medical research to determine if low-dose radiation exposure affects breast cancer risk among high-risk women. Out of 47 a
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Contact: Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
Source:Eurekalert

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