Women who've been treated for Hodgkins Lymphoma are five times more likely to go on to develop breast cancer. The findings were made after a landmark study carried out by the Institute of Cancer Research, over the last 50 years.
Doctors at the Christie in Manchester hope the results can now be used to help protect those women who are most vulnerable. Our correspondent Rachel Townsend reports
Senior author Professor Anthony Swerdlow from The Institute of Cancer Research said:
By following such a large group of women over such a long time period, we have created the most detailed picture yet of the risk that these women face. Importantly, our study enables this group of women to receive clear information about their personal breast cancer risk, to help their doctors and them to make decisions about preventive measures. It takes us a step closer to more-personalised medical plans."
Studies like this are fundamental to improving our understanding of rarer breast cancer groups. The rich data studied from patients across England and Wales, coupled with the clear and actionable results, means that a big difference can be made for these at risk women.
– Dr Julia Wilson, Head of Research at Breakthrough Breast Cancer
Scientists have revealed that women who have been treated for Hodgkin lymphoma at young ages have up to a 50 per cent chance of developing breast cancer over the 40 years after treatment. The new study will give this patient group a highly individualised assessment of their risk for the first time.
The Breakthrough Breast Cancer funded study looked at 5,000 British women over a 50 year period. They found a fivefold increased risk of breast cancer for young women who received radiotherapy to their chest as a treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma.
Although it was known that these patients had an increased breast cancer risk, this new research shows specifically what this risk is, depending on the age a woman receives her treatment, the type of treatment she received and how long it is since she was treated.
The new data mean that doctors can advice on a patient's chance of getting breast cancer and therefore make them aware of possible preventative measures.