Early MRIs Could Prevent Breast Cancer Deaths In Lymphoma Survivors

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For female survivors of childhood Hodgkin’s lymphoma, undergoing MRI screenings early could reduce the chances of breast cancer death.

In a study conducted at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, researchers discovered that early MRI screenings could reduce mortality rates for females afflicted with childhood Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) who received chest radiation as part of their treatment. The findings implicate the importance of breast cancer screenings for female survivors who otherwise wouldn’t undergo the screenings at such a young age.

"If you are a young woman who was treated with radiation therapy to your chest as a teenager or child for HL, or for that matter chest radiation therapy for any reason, you should be having a conversation with your family doctor or your oncologist about whether to start breast cancer screening earlier than most women would," said Dr. David Hodgson, a radiation oncologist at the center.

Awareness is key

According to Dr. Hodgson, there may be thousands of Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivors in North America who underwent chest radiation treatment early in life but are unaware of the complications in adulthood. These potential risks make them eligible candidates for early MRI screenings, and the researchers in the study believe the screenings should take place as early as the age of 25.

"Many of these are women who received radiotherapy to more normal tissue or at higher doses than are used currently, but even for more recently treated patients, screening should reduce the risk of breast cancer death," said Dr. Hodgson.

Source: University Health Network

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