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Alert on radiotherapy

The Chief Medical Officer has warned GPs to be prepared to counsel women who have just learnt their treatment with radiotherapy for Hodgkin's disease has put them at high risk of breast cancer.

Sir Liam Donaldson has issued a factsheet alerting GPs to an urgent recall scheme involving up to 5,000 women treated with supradiagphramatic radiotherapy for Hodgkin's disease before the age of 35.

They are being offered breast screening after a Government working party found they faced up to a one-in-three risk of developing breast cancer over the 25 years following treatment.

This compared with a one-in-50 risk of developing cancer by the age of 50 for the general population.

The Department of Health has asked cancer centres to trace all at-risk women.

Many of them are below the age of 50 when they would normally be screened.

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