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A 46-year-old member asked:

Do radiation therapy increase cancer cell growth of other undetected types of cancer?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Andrew Turrisi
Radiation Oncology 47 years experience
Low doses of: Diagnostic radiation (like mammograms, chest x-rays) may be exceedingly rare causes. We know that XRT for hodgkin's in young woemn led to excessive risk of breast and lung cancer, and we now use it more sparingly and to lower volume and doses if at all. Even low doses for children to prevent brain relapse in leukemia has been linked to excess brain tumors. But second tumors do not occur in all.
Dr. Jeffrey Buchsbaum
Radiation Oncology 31 years experience
It is a balance: The real issue is that if one uses radiation, the benefit far, far, far outweighs the risk. Yes, the use of radiaiton can increas cancer cell growth. And this is probably a tiny, tiny number 1/10000000th that of the benefits, but it exists and to say otherwise is not honest. Do cars cause death in the same sentence: yes, as people die because of car crashes. But similarly, there is a balance.

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Similar questions

A 29-year-old member asked:

Doesn't radiation therapy increase cancer cell growth?

3 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Lee Pederson
General Surgery 27 years experience
Not really: When given appropiately, radiation helps with local control. Keeping the tumor from recurring where it started). But yes exposure to radiation can be a cause for second cancers-( tho rare) most commonly sarcomas in the area of the radiated tissue).
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 44 years experience
This is an excellent answer. It is paradoxical -- most cancer cells are fragile and are killed more readily than healthy cells by radiation, but radiation also mutates normal cells and increases cancer risk. Despite the paradox, radiation is a tremendous help to many people with cancer.
Jul 19, 2012

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