Radiation exposure due to chest irradiation in women who had childhood Wilms tumor increased their susceptibility to developing breast cancer later in life.
A new study has found that patients who received chest radiation for Wilms tumor, a rare childhood cancer, face an increased risk of developing breast cancer later in life due to their radiation exposure. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings suggest that cancer screening guidelines might be re-evaluated to facilitate the early diagnosis and prompt treatment of breast cancer among Wilms tumor survivors.
Wilms tumor is a rare childhood kidney cancer that can spread to the lungs. When this spread occurs, patients receive a relatively low dose of 12-14 Gray of radiation therapy to the entire chest. To see if such exposure to radiation affects patients’ risk of developing breast cancer, Norman Breslow, PhD, of the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, led a team that studied nearly 2500 young women who had been treated for Wilms tumor during childhood and who had survived until at least 15 years of age.