Skip to main content

ACS & ASCO are Stronger Together: Cancer.Net content is now available on



Second Cancers After Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

Cancer survivors can be affected by a number of health problems, but often their greatest concern is facing another cancer. Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) can become resistant to treatment and progress to more advanced phases. But sometimes people with CML or develop a new, unrelated cancer later. This is called a second cancer. No matter what type of cancer you have or had, it's still possible to get another (new) cancer.

Types of cancer

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.

People with CML can get any type of second cancer, but they have a higher risk than the general population of developing:

The risk appears to be higher in the first 5 years after being diagnosed with CML, but more research is needed to confirm this.

What you can do

Most people with CML are treated with medicines that keep the disease in check without curing the disease, so they need to see their doctors regularly. Let your doctor know if you have any new symptoms or problems. They could be from the CML getting worse or from a new disease or cancer.

All people with CML should not use any type of tobacco and should avoid tobacco smoke. Tobacco is linked to an increased risk of many cancers and might further increase the risk of some of the second cancers seen in patients with CML.

To help maintain good health, 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
  • 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.

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 editors and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Kumar V, Garg M, Chaudhary N, Chandra AB. An observational study on risk of secondary cancers in chronic myeloid leukemia patients in the TKI era in the United States. PeerJ. 2018;6:e4342.

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 on June 9, 2020

Last Revised: June 9, 2020

American Cancer Society Emails

Sign up to stay up-to-date with news, valuable information, and ways to get involved with the American Cancer Society.