Can I Get Another Cancer After Having Nasopharyngeal 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 cancer of the nasopharynx can get any second cancer, but they have an increased risk of:
- Cancer of the tongue
- Cancer of the nose and nasal cavity
- Cancer of the esophagus
- Colon cancer
- Cancer of the cervix
- Kidney cancer
- Cancer of the bone and joints
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Follow-up after treatment
After completing treatment for cancer of the nasopharynx, you should still see your doctor regularly. Your doctor may order tests to look for signs that the cancer has come back or spread. These tests are also useful in finding some second cancers, particularly a new lung cancer or cancer of the mouth or throat. Experts don’t recommend any other tests to look for second cancers in patients who don’t have 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 nasopharyngeal cancers should follow the American Cancer Society guidelines for the early detection of cancer and stay away from tobacco products. Smoking increases the risk of getting certain second cancers as well as other health problems.
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: January 15, 2015 Last Revised: August 8, 2016