Second Cancers After Laryngeal or Hypopharyngeal 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've had, it's still possible to get another (new) cancer, even after surviving the first.

In fact, certain types of cancer and cancer treatments can be linked to a higher risk of certain second cancers.

Survivors of laryngeal cancer can get any second cancer, but they have an increased risk of:

Many of these cancers are linked to smoking and alcohol use, which are also risk factors for laryngeal cancer.

Survivors of cancer of the hypopharynx can get any second cancer, but have an increased risk of:

Many of these cancers are linked to smoking and alcohol use, which are also risk factors for hypopharyngeal cancer.

Can I lower my risk of getting a second cancer?

There are steps you can take to lower your risk and stay as healthy as possible. For example, the most common risk factors for laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers are smoking and alcohol intake, which are also linked to many of the second cancers listed above. Staying away from tobacco products and limiting alcohol may help lower your risk of a second cancer.

Survivors of laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers should follow the American Cancer Society guidelines for the early detection of cancer.

To help maintain good health, laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer survivors should also:

  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight
  • Keep physically active and limit sitting or lying down time
  • Follow a healthy eating pattern that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and that limits or avoids red and processed meats, sugary drinks, and highly processed foods.
  • It's best not to 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 cancers and other health problems.

See Second Cancers in Adults to learn more.

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.

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

American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material. For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.