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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1988 Aug 17;80(12):943-9.

Prior exposure to medical and dental x-rays related to tumors of the parotid gland.

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  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles 90033.


Findings from this population-based study in Los Angeles County suggest, for the first time, that tumors of the parotid gland are related to prior exposure to diagnostic medical and dental radiography. Responses to interviews with 408 patients with a parotid tumor (269 benign tumors and 139 malignant tumors) were compared to responses of 408 neighborhood controls. Cumulative exposure of the parotid gland from diagnostic radiography was associated with a dose-related increase in risk of malignant tumors (P for trend less than .05; relative risk for exposure to greater than or equal to 50 rad = 3.4; 95% confidence interval = 1.02-11.46). Benign tumors showed a weaker positive association, and exposure before age 20 to a major diagnostic examination (full-mouth or panoramic dental radiography or medical radiography to the head) increased risk (relative risk = 1.8; confidence interval = 1.13-2.91). This study also confirmed the association of malignant tumors with prior radiation treatment to the head or neck; 28% of these tumors are attributable to exposure of the parotid gland from diagnostic and therapeutic radiation.

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