Female cancer survivors who received chest radiation as part of their treatment are not following up on screening mammograms, a new study shows.
Women who had chest radiation as part of a treatment for cancer when they were children, teens or young adults, have a significantly higher risk for breast cancer. Between 12 to 20 percent will have breast cancer by the age of 45. It is recommended they begin screening mammograms at age 25 or eight years after their last radiation treatment, whichever comes last.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at the medical records of 551 randomly selected women who had chest radiation as children or teens to treat cancer.
The researchers found that only 37 percent of women ages 25 to 39 had been screened for breast cancer in the last two years. In older women between 40 and 50, about 77 percent had received a mammogram in the last two years. 53 percent in that group had regular mammogram screenings.
The increased risk of breast cancer begins as soon as eight years after radiation treatment for cancer, such as Hodgkin lymphoma.
Researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York believe that doctors are not recommending screening mammograms because they may not be familiar with a patient’s childhood cancer. #