CHICAGO - LOW-DOSE radiation from mammograms and chest X-rays may increase the risk of breast cancer in young women who are already at high risk because of family history or genetic susceptibility, Dutch researchers said on Tuesday.
They said high-risk women, especially those under 30, may want to consider switching to an alternative screening method such as magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, which does not involve exposure to radiation.
'Our findings suggest that low-dose radiation increases breast cancer risk among these young, high-risk women, and a careful approach is warranted,' said Marijke Jansen-van der Weide of the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands. 'I should recommend to be careful with radiation before 30 and to think about alternatives.'
Ms Jansen-van der Weide, who presented her findings at the Radiological Society of North America meeting in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.
For the study, Ms Jansen-van der Weide pooled data from six published studies that involved 12,000 high-risk women from Europe and the United States.
The team found that of the 8,500 women who had been exposed to radiation from chest X-rays or mammograms before the age of 20 or those who had had five or more exposures were 2.5 times more likely to develop breast cancer than other high-risk women who had not been exposed. -- REUTERS