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CANCER: Radiotherapy causes it, too

Radiation is one of the cornerstones of cancer treatment - but it can also cause cancer, as a new study has found.

Of the 13,000 patients who were treated with radiotherapy at one French clinic, 35 developed radiation-induced sarcomas, which appeared from 3 to 20 years after treatment.
Most of the new tumours were found in the breast and chest wall.

Fifteen patients died from the sarcomas, and around a third survived longer than five years. Strangely, the risk after radiation therapy increases with time, and so patients need to have long-term follow-up and monitoring.


  • Cancer, 2005; 104: 856-63