If you had radiation to the chest to treat another cancer (not breast cancer), such as Hodgkin disease or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, you have a higher-than-average risk of breast cancer. If you had radiation to the face as an adolescent to treat acne (something that's no longer done), you are at higher risk of developing breast cancer later in life. The amount of risk increase depends on how old you were when you had radiation. The increase in risk is highest if you had radiation during adolescence, when your breasts were developing.
There are also concerns that women treated with radioactive iodine for thyroid disease may have a higher risk of breast cancer, but study results have been mixed. Some studies also suggest that there is something about the biology of thyroid cancer that may increase the risk of breast cancer.
Steps you can take
If you had radiation when you were younger to successfully treat another cancer or to treat acne, you know how important it is to make lifestyle choices that can keep your breast cancer risk as low as it can be:
- maintaining a healthy weight
- exercising regularly
- limiting alcohol
- eating nutritious food
- never smoking (or quitting if you do smoke)
These are just a few of the steps you can take. Review the links on the left side of this page for more options.