Glossary

Type a term:

Radiation: Atomic and Medical

Radiation is a known carcinogen. Adolescent and preadolescent mammary tissue appears to be particularly sensitive to the damaging effects of radiation. In a study done on Japanese survivors of the atomic bombings at the end of World War II, women under the age of 20 who were exposed to the radiation were at an especially high risk of developing breast cancer many years, even decades, later [Hoffman et al., 1989].

Although occasional medical X-rays are less likely to alter breast cancer risk, extensive repeated X-ray examinations has been shown to increase risk for breast cancer. Women treated for scoliosis as adolescents have an increased risk for breast cancer later in life [Morin-Doody et al., 2000]. Similarly, women who were treated with radiation for both Hodgkin’s [Travis et al., 2003] and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma [Tward et al., 2006] have an increased risk of breast cancer several decades later.