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Study: Mammograms, X-rays may boost breast cancer risk by 250%

An International Agency for Research on Cancer study showed that chest X-rays may increase women's chances of developing breast cancer. The study involved 1,600 women with high-risk BRCA1 and 2 gene mutations. "If confirmed in prospective studies, young women who are members of families known to have BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations may wish to consider alternatives to X-ray, such as MRI," Lead researcher Dr. David Goldgar said.

According to the study, women who get chest X-rays before the age of 20 may increase their risk of developing the disease 2.5 times by age 40 compared to women who had never been exposed to x-rays.

"It is important to remember that 90 percent of breast cancer cases are not hereditary and that most healthy women would not need to have frequent chest X-rays, especially if in their 20s," Breast Cancer Care's Dr. Erin Pennery said.

The research has not conclusively tied chest X-rays to breast cancer. The researchers did say that women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer were more likely to remember getting a mammogram than women who had not.

However, it is no surprise that there is skepticism of these findings among cancer industry groups which rely on mammography to recruit patients into lucrative cancer treatment protocols. It is not in the interests of such groups to admit that the very test used to detect breast cancer appears to be causing it.