(HealthDay News) — Teen and young adult cancer survivors are at increased risk for other cancers later in life, according to a study published online October 6 in Cancer.
Researchers analyzed U.S. National Cancer Institute data for patients who survived cancers before age 40. Over 30 years, nearly 14% of the survivors were diagnosed with another, different type of cancer. On average, the second cancer occurred within 15 years. Compared to the general population, patients successfully treated for cancer between ages 15–39 were nearly 60% more likely to develop cancer. In contrast, patients successfully treated for cancer after age 40 were 10% more likely to develop another cancer.
The most common second cancers were breast, gastrointestinal and genital cancers, and melanoma. Over 30 years, those who received radiation therapy for their first cancer were more likely to have a second cancer than those who did not have radiation therapy – about 17% compared to 12%. Of the 7,384 patients who developed second cancers, 1,195 also developed a third cancer.
“Cancer patients used to be told that after they had reached five years of remission, they no longer had special health care needs,” senior author Robert Goldsby, MD, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, Benioff Children’s Hospital, said in a university news release. “But our study demonstrates that adolescent and younger adult survivors require lifelong follow-up with regular medical screening.”