Can I Get Another Cancer After Having Bone Cancer?
Cancer survivors can be affected by a number of health problems, but often their greatest concern is facing cancer again. If a cancer comes back after treatment it is called a recurrence. But some cancer survivors may develop a new, unrelated cancer later. This is called a second cancer. No matter what type of cancer you have had, it is still possible to get another (new) cancer, even after surviving the first.
Unfortunately, being treated for cancer doesn’t mean you can’t get another cancer. People who have had cancer can still get the same types of cancers that other people get. In fact, certain types of cancer and cancer treatments can be linked to a higher risk of certain second cancers.
Survivors of bone and joint cancers can get any type of second cancer, but they have an increased risk of getting another bone or joint cancer (this is different from the first cancer coming back). Sometimes this is the same kind of cancer as the original tumor, but it can be a different type. For example, someone who had a chondrosarcoma can get an osteosarcoma. Sarcoma of the soft tissues is also seen more often than expected after a cancer or the bone or joints.
Survivors of bone and joint cancer also have an increased risk of:
- Lung cancer
- Esophagus cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Liver cancer
- Pancreas cancer
- Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
The risk of leukemia is linked to treatment with chemotherapy.
Follow-up after treatment
After completing treatment for bone cancer, you should see your doctor regularly. You may also have tests to look for signs that your cancer has come back or spread. Experts do not recommend any additional testing to look for second cancers in patients without symptoms. Let your doctor know about any new symptoms or problems, because they could be caused by the cancer coming back or by a new disease or second cancer.
Survivors of bone cancer should follow the American Cancer Society guidelines for the early detection of cancer.
The Children’s Oncology Group has guidelines for the follow-up of patients treated for cancer as a child, teen, or young adult, including screening for second cancers. These can be found at www.survivorshipguidelines.org.
All patients should stay away from tobacco products. Smoking increases the risk of many cancers and might further increase the risk of some of the second cancers seen after bone cancer.
To help maintain good health, survivors should also:
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
- Adopt a physically active lifestyle
- Consume a healthy diet, with an emphasis on plant foods
- Limit consumption of alcohol to no more than 1 drink per day for women or 2 per day for men
These steps may also lower the risk of some cancers.
See Second Cancers in Adults for more information about causes of second cancers.
Last Medical Review: March 21, 2014 Last Revised: January 21, 2016