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August 19, 1968

Salivary Gland Cancer and Breast Cancer

Author Affiliations

Albany, NY

JAMA. 1968;205(8):597. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140340067025

To the Editor:—  This letter concerns your recent article by Berg et al, "The Unique Association Between Salivary Gland Cancer and Breast Cancer" (204:771, 1968). The authors found an eightfold increase in breast cancer incidence for patients in their study who were being observed for cancer of the major salivary glands. They suggest correctly that this association indicates the possibility of common causal factors, but they do not speculate on what such factors might be.I would like to hypothesize that the common factor in this series is irradiation therapy. The authors mention that irradiation appears to be the cause of the excess skin cancers observed. In light of MacKenzie's1 findings of an increased incidence of breast cancer in patients who had had multiple fluoroscopic examinations of the chest, it seems worthwhile to inquire about previous radiation therapy of patients with salivary gland and breast cancer in this