AW: [ RadSafe ] Breast Cancer Risk, and working in Radiology / Nuclear Medicine

Rainer.Facius at Rainer.Facius at
Sat Mar 10 05:05:52 CST 2007


the most comprehensive analysis of the most extensive data base for "real world information" concerning the association between ionizing radiation and breast cancer has been presented by a team of distinguished expert authors, Preston et al. 2002. Among the eight populations studied, only two were exposed chronically at low dose rates and hence are relevant for radiation protection. The observed breast cancer incidence rate as a function of radiation exposure in the low dose range - i.e. the range that is relevant for occupational radiation protection - is shown in the attached graph which displays the results given in table 4 of Preston et al. 2002. I wonder whether your colleagues will be able to properly evaluate this "real world information", e.g. that it pertains to a population which usually is considered to constitute the most vulnerable fraction. Of course, at higher doses the expected detrimental effect of radiation exposure is observed as reflected by the citation from the original investigators: 

"It was the contribution of subjects with breast doses > 1.0 Gy that produced a positive association between dose and the subsequent breast cancer risk."

I hope that helps, Rainer

Dr. Rainer Facius
German Aerospace Center
Institute of Aerospace Medicine
Linder Hoehe
51147 Koeln
Voice: +49 2203 601 3147 or 3150
FAX:   +49 2203 61970

Source: Preston D L, Mattson A, Holmberg E, Shore R, Hildreth N G, Boice Jr. J D.
Radiation effects on breast cancer risk: a pooled analysis of eight cohorts.
Radiation Research 158(2002)220-235


Von: radsafe-bounces at im Auftrag von Diane Griffiths
Gesendet: Fr 09.03.2007 23:38
An: radsafe at
Betreff: [ RadSafe ] Breast Cancer Risk,and working in Radiology / Nuclear Medicine

I have some nurses that work in Angiography, Cardiac Cath, and Nuclear
Medicine cardiology that are convinced their jobs are causing Breast Cancer.
Out of 10 nurses that work in these areas, 2 of them recently were diagnosed
with breast cancer. I have had multiple meetings with them in the last
month, and no matter what I tell them they are still freaked out. I have
found some articles that show that the incidence of breast cancer from
working in these departments is very low. They don't believe the studies and
information I have provided them. Their average exposure for these nurses is
approximately 100 mRem per year. (Some of these nurses have been employed
since 2002)

They asked me to check with various hospitals to see what percentage of
females working in Radiology / Nuclear Medicine are being diagnosed with
breast cancer and how long they have been working around radiation. Can
anyone help me with some information from your experiences that may help me
calm down these nurses?

I don't want them afraid to work in these areas so I would appreciate any
information that will help them. They insist that the information I have
provided them is not real world information, thus them wanting me to check
with other hospitals.


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