Cardiovascular mortality after radiotherapy for breast cancer

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7396.983 (Published 03 May 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:983

Study showed only estimates of use of adjuvant radiotherapy

  1. Ian H Kunkler (i.kunkler@ed.ac.uk), consultant in clinical oncology
  1. Western General Hospital, Edinburgh EH4 2XU
  2. Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Colney Centre, Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7UY

    EDITOR—The headline on the BMJ's front cover “Cardiovascular mortality after radiotherapy for breast cancer” would lead the reader to suppose that the study described the relation between adjuvant irradiation for breast cancer and cardiac mortality.1 The actual report of a cohort of nearly 90 000 women reported from the Swedish cancer registry with data on laterality of breast cancer and cardiac mortality presents only estimates of the use of adjuvant radiotherapy (30%) from regional Swedish registries in the 1970s and 1980s.

    Darby et al are rightly modest in their claims about the increased mortality ratio (left v right) of 1.10 because of the wide confidence intervals for the observed …

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