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Breast Cancer Res. 2005;7(1):21-32. Epub 2004 Nov 23.

Radiation and breast cancer: a review of current evidence.

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National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, NIH, HHS, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


This paper summarizes current knowledge on ionizing radiation-associated breast cancer in the context of established breast cancer risk factors, the radiation dose-response relationship, and modifiers of dose response, taking into account epidemiological studies and animal experiments. Available epidemiological data support a linear dose-response relationship down to doses as low as about 100 mSv. However, the magnitude of risk per unit dose depends strongly on when radiation exposure occurs: exposure before the age of 20 years carries the greatest risk. Other characteristics that may influence the magnitude of dose-specific risk include attained age (that is, age at observation for risk), age at first full-term birth, parity, and possibly a history of benign breast disease, exposure to radiation while pregnant, and genetic factors.

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