Can I Get Another Cancer After Having Soft Tissue Sarcoma?
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 soft tissue sarcoma can get any type of second cancer, but they also have an increased risk of:
- A second soft-tissue sarcoma (this is different than the first one coming back)
- Bone cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Melanoma of the skin
- Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
Some second bone cancers may be due to treatment with radiation therapy. Radiation and chemotherapy likely contribute to the cases of leukemia.
Follow-up after treatment
After completing treatment for soft tissue sarcoma, you should still see your doctor regularly. You 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.
Patients who have completed treatment should follow the American Cancer Society guidelines for the early detection of cancer.
The Children’s Oncology Group has guidelines for the follow-up of patients treated for cancer as a child, teen, or young adult, including screening for second cancers. These can be found at www.survivorshipguidelines.org.
All survivors of soft tissue sarcoma should avoid tobacco smoke, as smoking increases the risk of many cancers.
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: December 29, 2014 Last Revised: February 9, 2016