Cancer is a disease that is quite challenging and stressful to deal with. However, about 1 to 3% of cancer patients develop one second cancer that is often very different from the first.
When a cancer survivor develops a completely new and different cancer, it is called second cancer.
A reason given for an increase in numbers second cancers is the advancement in the early detection and treatment of cancer increasing their cancer survival rate. While many cancer survivors live cancer-free and healthy lives, few suffer from second cancer or other health problems as a result of cancer treatment.
Who is at risk of developing a second cancer?
Cancer survivors who recovered from cancer earlier may have an increased risk of developing a second cancer. This risk is exceptionally high for certain types of cancer that a person may have suffered the first time around. While it’s still not entirely clear why these cancers occur, here are some factors that increase the risk of cancer second cancer,
● Type of primary cancer
The first cancer a person suffers from determines the type of treatment they received over time. High doses of radiation or chemotherapy can increase the risk of developing a second cancer in another organ or part of the body. Whether it is the first cancer, the treatment given to cure it, or a combination of both giving rise to a second cancer is still unknown.
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● Age during treatment
It has been observed that children and young people are at higher risk of developing it second cancer after radiation or chemotherapy compared to older adults. This can also be attributed to the fact that younger people are more likely to survive cancer the first time.
● Type of chemotherapy for the first cancer
Some cancers require a higher dose of radiation or chemotherapy. Some chemotherapy drugs can increase the risk of development second cancerAmong which:
- Nitrogen Mustard
- BCNU (bischloroethyl nitrosourea)
● Type of radiation used
The higher the radiation dose one receives, the greater the risk of developing a second cancer. Although it has not yet been determined how the radiation dose received affects the likelihood of developing a second cancer, childhood cancer survivors who have undergone radiation therapy are at an increased risk of developing cancer second cancer,
● Family history
A gene that is inherited is passed from one parent to the child within the family. An inherited risk may include having one or more relatives with cancer or a cancer-related condition.
Lifestyle and environmental factors play an important role in the development of cancer. The risk of second cancer in survivors increases with an unhealthy lifestyle such as smoking, alcoholism, lack of exercise and poor diet. What are the signs and symptoms of a second cancer?
The best way to cure cancer is early detection and prompt treatment. While many types of cancer show no signs or symptoms, knowing them is helpful as it helps with early detection. This also applies to second cancers. Routine health checks, including imaging and blood tests, can help detect high blood pressure second cancerSome signs and symptoms to look out for include:
- A wound or ulcer that does not heal.
- Change in bowel habits.
- Bone pain.
- Unusual discharge.
- Sudden bleeding.
- A lump in the breast or other part of the body.
- Install Vision changes.
- Sudden, uncontrollable headache.
- Hoarseness in the voice.
Although having these symptoms certainly does not mean that you have cancer, it is best to have one or more of these symptom combinations examined by a specialist.
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How can Second Cancer be prevented?
Cancer survivors often have a nagging fear that their cancer will return. If you are one of those who think about how to avoid this second cancer the following tips may be helpful:
● Avoid smoking. Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause cancer. Even passive smoking can become the cause of second cancer.
● Healthy, nutritious food. Following your nutritionist’s diet plan and including healthy, fresh foods rich in antioxidants is a great way to keep second cancer at bay. Having a healthy, nutritious diet is also helpful in getting your body back to normal after the initial bout of cancer.
● Physical activity. Your daily dose of 30 minutes of exercise or exercise is essential to keep your body healthy and your mind fit. It is especially helpful for cancer survivors to prevent the development of second cancer.
● Limit/Avoid alcohol. If you are a cancer survivor, it is advisable to limit or avoid the consumption of alcohol.
● Protect yourself from the sun. Few cancers can be caused by overexposure to UV rays from the sun. Protect yourself from the sun and if you have to go out, always wear a high SPF sunscreen to protect your skin.
● Be alert. No one knows your body better than you. If you feel any signs and symptoms of cancer, or anything you noticed during your first cancer, let your healthcare provider know as soon as possible.
● Have regular screenings carried out. Keeping up with your screening appointments helps ensure that early signs of second cancer are detected early and treated promptly. Make an appointment with our specialists at Apollo Hospitals.
Dealing with fear of cancer recurrence
The fear of cancer returning or developing cancer second cancer common among survivors. It’s normal to feel this way. However, being paranoid or worrying too much about cancer recurrence or developing again can affect your quality of life.
Here’s how to deal with the fear of cancer recurrence and appearance:
- Talk to your support system – friends and family.
- Be open and communicate with others like you.
- Find support groups.
- See a professional therapist who can help ease your fears.
It’s normal to worry about recurrent cancer or another cancer occurring after beating the first one. However, with the advanced technology available today for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, one can expect to live a cancer-free life. If you are a cancer survivor and want to learn more about second cancerconsult our oncologists at Apollo Hospitals.