Can I Get Another Cancer After Having Esophagus 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 esophagus cancer can get any type of second cancer, but they have an increased risk of:
- Cancers of the mouth and throat
- Cancer of the larynx (voice box)
- Lung cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Small intestine cancer
Men who were treated for esophagus cancer also have an increased risk of stomach cancer.
The most common risk factors for cancer of the esophagus are smoking and alcohol intake, which are also linked to many of these cancers.
Follow-up after treatment
After completing treatment of esophagus cancer, you should still see your doctor regularly. You may have tests to look for signs that 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 colorectal cancer should follow the American Cancer Society guidelines for the early detection of cancer and 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 in patients who have had esophagus 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 20, 2014 Last Revised: February 4, 2016
- What Happens After Treatment for Cancer of the Esophagus?
- Lifestyle Changes After Cancer of the Esophagus
- Can I Lower the Risk of My Esophagus Cancer Progressing or Coming Back?
- Can I Get Another Cancer After Having Esophagus Cancer?
- How Might Having Esophagus Cancer Affect Your Emotional Health?
- If Treatment for Cancer of the Esophagus Stops Working