What is the role of ionizing radiation in the development of pediatric breast disorders?

Updated: May 03, 2021
  • Author: Harsh Grewal, MD, FACS, FAAP; Chief Editor: Robert K Minkes, MD, PhD  more...
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Exposure to ionizing radiation has been shown to increase breast cancer risk. The patient's age during exposure is correlated with the risk; the highest risk is posed to the adolescent, whereas exposure in those older than 40 years only minimally increases the risk. Also, the latency period is long.

Women aged 25 years or older who were exposed to ionizing radiation before age 30 years (eg, mantle irradiation for Hodgkin disease, [39] thymic irradiation for enlargement, radiation for mastitis, radiation exposure from nuclear fall-out) should be examined by a physician twice a year and should undergo annual mammography and MRI, beginning 8 years after radiation exposure. [23, 40] The lag of 8 years is because of the long latency period of radiation damage to tissue.

Because mammography has limited use in evaluating dense breast tissue, only twice-yearly physician examinations are recommended in patients younger than 25 years. [41, 42]

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