Medical radiation exposure and breast cancer risk: findings from the Breast Cancer Family Registry

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John EM, Phipps AI, Knight JA, Milne RL, Dite GS, Hopper JL, Andrulis IL, Southey M, Giles GG, West DW, Whittemore AS (2007) Medical radiation exposure and breast cancer risk: findings from the Breast Cancer Family Registry. Int J Cancer 121:386-394


Moderate to high-dose radiotherapy is known to increase the risk of breast cancer. Uncertainties remain about the effects of low-dose chest X-rays, particularly in individuals at increased genetic risk. We analyzed case-control data from the Breast Cancer Family Registry. Self-reported data on therapeutic and diagnostic radiation exposures to the chest were available for 2,254 breast cancer cases and 3,431 controls (1,556 unaffected sisters and 1,875 unrelated population controls). We used unconditional logistic regression analyses to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) associated with radiation exposure, after adjusting for age, study center, country of birth, and education. Increased risks for breast cancer were found for women who had radiotherapy for a previous cancer (OR=3.55, CI=1.47-8.54) and diagnostic chest X-rays for tuberculosis (OR=2.49, CI=1.82-3.40) or pneumonia (OR=2.19, CI=1.38-3.47). Risks were highest for women with a large number of exposures at a young age or exposed in earlier calendar years. There was no evidence of increased risk associated with other diagnostic chest X-rays (not including tuberculosis or pneumonia), both in women with and without indicators of increased genetic risk (i.e., diagnosed at age <40 years="" or="" family="" history="" of="" breast="" cancer).="" given="" the="" widespread="" and="" increasing="" use="" of="" medical="" diagnostic="" radiation,="" continued="" surveillance="" of="" breast="" cancer="" risk="" is="" warranted,="" particularly="" in="" women="" at="" specific="" genetic="" risk,="" such="" as="" those="" carrying="" mutations="" in="" brca1="" or="">

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