New imaging linked to higher cancer risk

Aug. 25, 2010 at 11:24 PM
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DENVER, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- A U.S. researcher says two new nuclear-based breast imaging exams increase cancer risk.

R. Edward Hendrick of the University of Colorado-Denver School of Medicine says the technologies -- known as breast-specific gamma imaging and positron emission mammography -- involve the injection of radioactive material into the patient.

"A single breast-specific gamma imaging or positron emission mammography examination carries a lifetime risk of inducing fatal cancer greater than or comparable to a lifetime of annual screening mammography starting at age 40," Hendrick says in a statement.

The study, published in Radiology, estimates a single breast-specific gamma imaging involves a lifetime risk of fatal cancer 20 to 30 times that of digital mammography in women age 40 years and older, while the lifetime risk of a single positron emission mammography was 23 times greater than that of digital mammography.

Additionally, the newer technologies may not only increase the risk of breast cancers but also of cancers in other organs, Hendrick says.

Hendrick bases his calculations for lifetime risks of radiation-induced cancer incidence on a review of recent studies on radiation doses from radiologic procedures and organ doses from nuclear medicine, along with age-dependent risk data.

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