Teenage girls exposed to radiation during the second world war have twice the risk of developing breast cancer. Historically, a similar risk is seen in those exposed to multiple chest radiographs in the assessment of tuberculosis. The increased risk becomes apparent after a latent period of more than 10 years.
However, women aged over 50 exposed to radiation through the mammographic screening programme have a decreased mortality from breast cancer.
It is unclear what the relative risk of radiation would be if younger women were offered mammographic screening.
Last reviewed 01/2018