Second Cancers After Cancer of Unknown Primary

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 being treated for and surviving the first.

In fact, certain types of cancer and cancer treatments can be linked to a higher risk of certain second cancers. Since the location where a cancer of unknown primary started is not known, survivors of cancer of unknown primary can get any type of second cancer.

Follow-up after treatment

After completing treatment for cancer, you should still see your doctor regularly and may have tests to look for signs the 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 cancer of unknown primary should follow the  and stay away from tobacco products. Smoking increases the risk of many cancers.American Cancer Society guidelines for the early detection of cancer

To help maintain good health, survivors should also:

These steps may also lower the risk of some cancers.

See Second Cancers in Adults for more information about causes of second cancers.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: March 9, 2018 Last Revised: March 9, 2018

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