New York City Women’s risk of developing breast cancer may increase as much as 20-fold if they were treated with chest radiation for malignancies as children or young adults, according to an analysis of studies.
By the time they are in their 40s, the women’s incidence of breast malignancy may be 13 to 20 percent compared with about 1 percent for females generally, researchers said Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine. A second study in the journal said both male and female survivors of childhood cancers die about a decade sooner.
The findings add to research showing the effects of childhood cancer and its treatment, said Kevin Oeffinger, one of the authors of the breast cancer study. As adults, these survivors should be aware of their health risks and work with doctors to prevent premature death, the researchers said.
“We still need radiation for treatment of many of the cancers,” said Oeffinger, director of the Adult Long-Term Follow-Up Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, in a telephone interview Friday.