It is estimated that there are up to 25,000 women in the us who were treated with chest radiation for cancer as a young adult or child.
No doubt, that was a lifesaver at the time, but now, studies indicate that chest radiation may increase the risk of breast cancer later on. Kevin Oeffinger, M.D. of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, says, "The Children's Oncology Group recommends initiating breast cancer screening at the age of 25, or 8 years after their radiation, with an annual mammogram and a breast MRI. If we can diagnose breast cancer in an early stage in these women, their outcomes are quite good."
The study, featured this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, finds that in those high-risk women under age 40, 47% had never even had a mammogram. The JAMA report's intentions are that more women who survived childhood cancers will take note and get checked for breast cancer way before the recommended annual screening at age 40, so that if the disease returns as breast cancer, they have a much better chance at beating cancer again.