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RSNA: Mammograms May Increase Breast Cancer Risk

In women with a genetic or familial susceptibility, five or more tests shown to raise risk

TUESDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- In women at high risk of breast cancer, low-dose radiation from annual mammography may be associated with an increased risk of the disease, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, held from Nov. 29 to Dec. 4 in Chicago.

Marijke C. Jansen-van der Weide, Ph.D., of the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of six studies assessing breast cancer risk in high-risk women exposed to low-dose radiation.

Compared to high-risk women who were not exposed to low-dose radiation, the researchers found that those exposed to it had a significantly increased risk of breast cancer (odds ratio, 1.5), and that the risk was even higher in those exposed to low-dose radiation before the age of 20 or who had at least five exposures (odds ratio, 2.5).

"For women at high risk for breast cancer, screening is very important, but a careful approach should be taken when considering mammography for screening young women, particularly under age 30," Jansen-van der Weide said in a statement. "Further, repeated exposure to low-dose radiation should be avoided."

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