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Radiation link

Hi there! I was diagnosed with CML last Thursday. I have no symptoms and it was discovered following a routine medical in work. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018. My haematologist told me it was quite likely that the radiation treatment for that caused the mutation to trigger this. So my question is, have many of you lovely people had radiation treatment previously? Thanks! Xx

Hi ,

For those of us with CML we are often curious about the reasons if any that might be identified as causing it.Apparently most experts agree that the condition is acquired and not passed on between generations.Radiation exposure is one of the oft quoted reasons for developing leukaemias and especially CML.After 1945 and the events in Japan these illnesses peaked 10 years afterwards and subsequent events in Chernobyl and the tsunami in Japan affected those involved in the clean up of such accidents.Historically those working in shipyards on nuclear vessels were very much at risk..I have seen statements from medical experts suggesting that most people treated for cancer by radiation methods do not go on to develop CML and medical x rays do not pose a major risk.However on CAT scans and computerised tomography many of us would wish to disagree;in the 1980 s I had lots and lots of these on my chest and I am sure that this was the initial factor that affected me .Scans undertaken in the early days of medicine were often imperfectly calibrated in the same way in which some airports in the world have via their security scanners given excessive doses of radiation to travellers.

This does not fully answer your query and possibly you will never know for certain what the risk factor was of radiotherapy given for your previous condition but hopefully it will have saved you from progression down the road of breast cancer and all its life threatening developments.

There are other risk factors quoted such as exposure to benzene,pesticides,electromagnetic fields,toxic gases(radon gases from granite for instance),low immunity and stress;body mass is another risk issue found. I grew up on a farm and every summer the sheep would be dipped within a pit of highly carcinogenic liquid and the horses and cows would have a coating on their backs of very potent anti fly spray;both are now not used like before.Those who sprayed lofts of houses to kill off the woodworm were very much at risk.There seem to be a range of environmental factors that would still be relevant even in the present day of much tighter safety regulations in the industrial processing fields.One of the latest apparent risks is fire retardent material used on mattresses and also used a lot on firemans clothing.

In my case CAT scans plus exposure to higher level solar radiation via travelling 100,000 miles a year by air for 10 years prior to diagnosis were substantial contributory factors;I have often asked my specialists for an opinion but usually they say we dont know for sure and have said studies on air crew have been inconclusive) .Last year I had some iodine - 125 implants placed in my prostate;I was told that the risk for my existing CML was minimal and basically in order to address an early stage and treatable condition I had little choice.

There have been several threads on here before on the causes of CML but all seemed inconclusive I think.

I wish you well with your treatment



Thanks for replying John! This is all very new to me so its great to get information that isn't google xx


Thanks for your rapid response.If you have been diagnosed with CML at an early stage then hopefully you will get a good response to treatment.

You just need to to join the Club of us with CML and another cancer or alternatively another cancer and then CML.Then we need to  think about the relationship between one and the other and the  medics refer to co-morbitities, that is if you have one cancer are you more  likely to get another-my specialists say one needs to be more suspicious and carry out more checks/tests.

It is a bit tough to have two cancer conditions at the same time;one might not be related to the other.

The prognosis for CML is such that we can expect a normal life span but it might mean treatment and medication for the rest of life.

I hope you find this site of use and help at this difficult stage in your life.




In 1988 I had radiotherapy after a diagnosis of testicular cancer. In 2007 I was diagnosed with CML. Although it cannot be proved my consultant advised that the radiotherapy was the most likely cause.

Hi, Haven’t posted in awhile but when I read your post could identify. I had breast cancer 2005 , numerous treatments including radiation. Then all kinds of follow up scans through the years. In 2018 diagnosed with CML. If I could change anything I did through the years I most likely would be more cautious with follow up scans. But anyway. Two years after CML diagnoses, on Sprycel 40 mg and doing fine. This is a great site for the best information out there. My best to you, Dawn

Hi Dawn, thanks for replying! I've had no follow up scans or bloods since I finished chemo in Feb 2019, and I know this is the norm in Ireland from speaking with other women. This was picked up through a routine medical in work! I'm annoyed on behalf of other people who don't get routine medical. This could have gone undetected for some time. Glad to hear you're doing well xx

In answer to your query, yes, I had breast cancer treated with radiation (2003), various scans between the years, then a CML dx in 2009.  In addition, after that, I had two recurrences of the breast cancer (finally had a mastectomy) and some skin cancers.  All connected?  Some connected?  Who knows.  When you think of how many opportunities there are in a lifetime for a cell to mutate over to the Dark Side, it boggles the mind that we survive as long as we do as a species!  Good luck to you.