Dr. David Hodgson hopes this new evidence will encourage at-risk survivors of childhood Hodgkin lymphoma to discuss early screening with their doctors. (Photo: UHN)

The largest clinical study to evaluate breast cancer screening of female survivors of childhood  Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), who are at increased risk  because they received chest radiation, shows that magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI) detected invasive breast tumours at very early stages, when cure rates are expected to be excellent.

The finding, published online today in the American Cancer Society Journal Cancer, underscores the need for at-risk childhood HL survivors and primary care physicians to be aware of established guidelines that recommend breast MRI screening from the age of 25 years or eight years following chest radiation (whichever is later), says principal investigator Dr. David Hodgson, a radiation oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network. 

"Female survivors of childhood HL who had chest radiation should speak with their family doctor about after-care assessment and breast cancer screening" says Dr. Hodgson. "We estimate that 75% of women who are at high risk because of prior radiotherapy to the chest are not being screened. So my hope is that this new evidence will encourage these survivors to discuss early screening with their doctors. There is a provincial pediatric oncology aftercare system already in place to help them, organized by the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO)."

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