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Expert advice on radiation from the National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families.

Q. "I thought that radiation can cause cancer. Will it increase my risk for other cancers?"

A. Radiation therapy has improved greatly through the years, and the doses are much lower than they used to be. The bottom line is that women who have radiation therapy after lumpectomy are less likely to have a cancer recurrence in the same breast, and they live just as long as women who undergo mastectomy without radiation. There are exceptions: women who are pregnant do not undergo radiation treatment because it is dangerous to the fetus, and radiation can be harmful to women who have certain diseases, such as lupus.