Second Cancers After Eye Cancer

Cancer survivors can be affected by a number of health problems, but often a major 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

People who have had eye cancer can get any type of second cancer, but since this is a rare cancer, not many studies have been done in this area. The available information suggests they might have an increased risk of certain cancers , including:

Follow-up after treatment

After completing treatment for eye cancer, you should still see your doctor regularly and may have tests to look for signs that the cancer has come back. Let your doctors know if you have any new symptoms or problems, as they could be due to the eye cancer coming back, side effects of treatment, or a new disease or cancer.

Eye cancer survivors should also follow the American Cancer Society recommendations for the early detection of cancer, such as those for colorectal, lung, and breast cancer. Most experts don’t recommend any other testing to look for second cancers unless you have symptoms.

Can I lower my risk of getting a second cancer?

There are steps you can take to lower your risk of cancer in general and stay as healthy as possible. For example, it’s important to stay away from tobacco products. Smoking increases the risk of many cancers.

To help maintain good health, eye cancer survivors should also:

  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight
  • Keep physically active and limit the time you spend sitting or lying down
  • Follow a healthy eating pattern that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and limits or avoids red and processed meats, sugary drinks, and highly processed foods
  • Not drink alcohol. If you do drink, have no more than 1 drink per day for women or 2 per day for men

These steps may also lower the risk of some other health problems.

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 oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

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Diener-West M, Reynolds SM, Agugliaro DJ, et al, Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study Group. Second primary cancers after enrollment in the COMS trials for treatment of choroidal melanoma: COMS report no. 25. Arch Ophthalmol. 2005;123(5):601e604.

Rock CL, Thomson C, Gansler T, et al. American Cancer Society guideline for diet and physical activity for cancer prevention. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2020;70(4). doi:10.3322/caac.21591. Accessed at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3322/caac.21591 on June 9, 2020.

Last Revised: June 9, 2020

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