Best practice & research clinical haematology: Screening for breast cancer in hodgkin lymphoma survivors

Best Pract Res Clin Haematol. 2023 Dec;36(4):101525. doi: 10.1016/j.beha.2023.101525. Epub 2023 Nov 25.


Childhood and young adult survivors of Hodgkin lymphoma are at an elevated risk of developing breast cancer. Breast cancer risk is felt to originate from chest wall radiation exposure prior to the third decade of life, with incidence beginning to rise approximately eight to ten years following Hodgkin lymphoma treatment. Although incidence varies according to age at radiation exposure, dosage, and treatment fields, cohort studies have documented a cumulative incidence of breast cancer of 10-20% by 40 years of age. Women with a history of chest radiation for Hodgkin lymphoma are counselled to begin screening with bilateral breast MRI at 25 years of age, or eight years after radiation, whichever occurs later. Outside of high-risk surveillance, the optimal management approach for women with prior radiation exposure continues to evolve. When diagnosed with breast malignancy, evidence supports consideration of unilateral therapeutic and contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, although breast conserving surgery may be considered following multidisciplinary assessment. This review will address the epidemiology, characteristics, screening and management guidelines, and breast-cancer prevention efforts for Hodgkin lymphoma survivors treated with radiation therapy in adolescence and young adulthood.

Keywords: Breast cancer screening; Breast neoplasms; Cancer prevention; Hodgkin lymphoma.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Breast Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Child
  • Early Detection of Cancer / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Hematology*
  • Hodgkin Disease* / complications
  • Hodgkin Disease* / diagnosis
  • Hodgkin Disease* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Mastectomy / adverse effects
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary* / diagnosis
  • Survivors
  • Young Adult