What Are the Risks?

It’s normal for survivors to have thoughts and fears that their cancer could return or spread, or that they will develop a new cancer as a result of treatment.

Cancer survivors who received chemotherapy or radiation treatment are at risk for developing a recurrence or second cancer. While the risk is generally low, it varies depending on the type of cancer originally treated, ranging from 2 percent among lymphoma survivors to 30 percent among survivors of small cell lung cancer.

Chemotherapy-related leukemias typically occur less than five years after treatment, while radiation-induced secondary cancers tend to occur after a longer period of time (greater than five to 10 years).
At City of Hope, we work to help ease patient's anxiety by providing thorough screening for early detection of recurrences and secondary cancers.  

Screening guidelines are different for cancer survivors than those of the general public, so make sure to talk with your doctor and refer to your personalized survivorship care plan to see what screening tests are best for you.

Screenings for early detection include:

  • Colonoscopies
  • Mammograms
  • PAP smears
  • Chest CT scans
  • Genetic testing
  • Prostate cancer screening with PSA levels

Healthy Lifestyle

Lifestyle plays a role in reducing the risk of developing a second cancer. Here’s how you can stay healthy:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat well
  • Engage in physical activity
  • Reduce sun exposure