Irradiation for peptic ulcer disease presents a unique opportunity to evaluate the risk of cancer following high doses of radiation for a benign disease and the risk of cardiovascular disease following lower doses of radiation to the heart. DCEG investigators compared mortality in a cohort of 4,000 peptic ulcer patients, half of whom received external beam radiation, to the U.S. population. Risks for organ specific cancers were compared between irradiated and non-irradiated peptic ulcer patients, and dose-response relations were evaluated. Co-factors such as age, gender, tobacco smoking habits, and gastric surgery were considered in the analysis. Increased risks for cancers of the stomach, pancreas and lung were related to radiation exposure as well as coronary heart.
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