—We agree with Ms Gilson and Drs Vaidya andBaum that there is a potential risk from mammography for women carrying BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, but we believe there is a greater likelihood of benefit. Vaidya and Baum note recent publications indicating a DNA repair function for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 protein1-3 and suggest that these observations raise questions about the use of screening mammography for individuals carrying mutations in these genes. While a defect in a DNA repair mechanism may increase the risk of radiation exposure, we believe it would be premature to conclude that individuals carrying BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations will be "exquisitely sensitive to even small amounts of ionizing radiation." This research finding is preliminary and of uncertain clinical significance. It may mean that cancers associated with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are more sensitive to radiation. Further, while mammography may pose risk, it also remains the
Burke W, Daly M, Garber J, et al. Benefits and Risks of Screening Mammography in Women With BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutations-Reply. JAMA. 1997;278(4):290. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550040046031
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