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Second Cancers After Endometrial Cancer

Endometrial cancer survivors can be affected by a number of health problems, but often their greatest concern is facing cancer again. Cancer that comes back after treatment 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's still possible to get another (new) cancer, even after surviving the first. People who have had endometrial cancer can still get the same types of cancers that other people get. In fact, certain types of endometrial cancer and cancer treatments are linked to a higher risk of certain second cancers compared to the general population. For instance, studies have shown that women who had high-grade endometrioid, serous, carcinosarcoma, and mixed epithelioid cancers are at higher risk for certain second cancers than women with low-grade or clear cell types.

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

Colon and breast cancers are the second cancers most often seen.

The increased risks of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and cancers of the colon, rectum, bladder, vagina, and soft tissue seem to be linked to treatment with radiation.

See Second Cancers in Adults for more information about causes of second cancers.

Follow-up after endometrial cancer treatment

After completing treatment, you should still see your doctor regularly. Tell them any new symptoms or problems. They could be caused by the cancer spreading or coming back, or by a new disease or a second cancer.

Endometrial cancer survivors should also follow the American Cancer Society guidelines for the early detection of cancer, such as those for colorectal, breast, and cervical cancer. Screening tests can find some cancers early, when they are easier to treat. For women who've had endometrial cancer, most experts don’t recommend any extra 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 and stay as healthy as possible. To help maintain good health, endometrial cancer survivors should:

  • 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

These steps can help lower the risk of some other health problems, too.

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.

Chen T, Brenner H, Fallah M, et al. Risk of second primary cancers in women diagnosed with endometrial cancer in German and Swedish cancer registries. Int J Cancer. 2017;141(11):2270-2280.

Onsrud M, Cvancarova M, Hellebust TP, et al. Long-Term Outcomes After Pelvic Radiation for Early-Stage Endometrial Cancer. Clin Oncol. 2013;31:3951-3956.

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.

Rhoades J, Vetter MH, Fisher JL, et al. The association between histological subtype of a first primary endometrial cancer and second cancer risk. Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2019;29(2):290-298.

Wiltink LM, Nout RA, Fiocco M, et al. No Increased Risk of Second Cancer After Radiotherapy in Patients Treated for Rectal or Endometrial Cancer in the Randomized TME, PORTEC-1, and PORTEC-2 Trials. J Clin Oncol. 2015;33(15):1640-1646.

Last Revised: June 9, 2020

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