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July 23, 1997

Benefits and Risks of Screening Mammography in Women With BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutations

Author Affiliations

University College London, United Kingdom

JAMA. 1997;278(4):290. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550040046030

To the Editor.  —In the provisional recommendations for follow-up care of individuals with inherited predisposition to cancer,1 annual mammography is recommended beginning between the ages of 25 and 35 years, based on "expert opinion" only.This might have seemed reasonable but for the publication, 1 month later, of 2 reports in Nature2,3 and an accompanying commentary4 which reveal that BRCA genes, acting as "caretakers," are of great importance in DNA repair. Consequently, a person lacking functional BRCA genes would be exquisitely sensitive to even small amounts of ionizing radiation.Would an expert now want to subject these women to the hazard of mammography?

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