Timing of first mammography after radiation treatment

Last Modified: October 17, 2003

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
Can you tell me when I should have my first mammogram after radiation treatments? 

Answer

Lawrence J. Solin, MD, FACR, Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

After lumpectomy and radiation treatment for breast cancer, routine bilateral mammography is important to look for the possibility of recurrence in the treated breast as well as to look for a new breast cancer in the opposite (non-treated) breast. There is some variation as to when to perform the first mammogram after treatment. Most commonly, the first mammogram is obtained at least 3 months, and usually 6-9 months after radiation is completed to allow for the acute radiation reaction in the breast to subside and so that patients are more comfortable for this procedure. Yearly mammograms are then obtained for the asymptomatic patient, although some doctors prefer mammograms every 6 months for the first 3 years for the treated breast.


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