Breast cancer screening recommendations for women who received mantle radiation for Hodgkin lymphoma

Issue: BCMJ, Vol. 56, No. 10, December 2014, page(s) 483 Pulsimeter
Christine Wilson, MD, FRCPC, Stephen Chia, MD, Laurie Sehn, MD, Joseph Connors, MD, Scott Tyldesley, MD, FRCPC, Karen Goddard, MB ChB, MA, FRCP (UK), FRCPC

A key component of treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma is often radiation therapy. In recent decades, however, it has become clear that by integrating chemotherapy with radiation the radiation field can be reduced or even eliminated. The primary reason to do so is to minimize the risk of secondary cancer as a complication of radiation.

Between the late-1960s and the mid-1990s, mantle field radiotherapy (or mantle radiation) was used for some patients because it was the most effective method known at that time to employ radiation. We now know that patients who received mantle radiation have an increased risk of developing breast cancer many years after the radiation was given. Specialists at the BC Cancer Agency, working with diagnostic imaging specialists across BC, have initiated a special monitoring program for patients who received mantle radiation for Hodgkin lymphoma.

In October 2014, the BC Cancer Agency mailed letters to former Hodgkin lymphoma patients who had received mantle radiation to invite them to participate in this higher level of screening. Letters were also mailed to these women’s family physicians. We are encouraging women to bring the letters to their doctors to discuss screening options and arrange for appropriate recommended tests.

For more information on these breast screening recommendations or to discuss your patient’s treatment history with a health care professional from the BC Cancer Agency, please visit or call 604 877-6292, toll free 1 800 663-3333, ext. 676292. Additional information is also provided in a related blog published on
—Christine Wilson, MD
—Stephen Chia, MD
—Laurie Sehn, MD
—Joseph Connors, MD
—Scott Tyldesley, MD
—Karen Goddard, MD
On behalf of the Breast and Lymphoma Tumor Groups at the BC Cancer Agency