Can I lower my risk of getting a second cancer?

Some people might think that if they’ve had cancer, the odds are that they won’t get another one. But people who have had cancer are often at increased risk for some other types of cancer. And even if they’re not at increased risk, they still have the same risks for other types of cancers as do all other people.

It’s very important that people who have had cancer understand what their risks are. If you’ve had cancer, talk with your doctor about what other cancers you might need to watch out for more closely. Ask if there are things you can do that might lower your risk, or if there are screening tests you should have to look for cancer early.

If you have completed treatment, be sure to keep any follow up appointments. Let your doctor know if you have any new symptoms or problems, because they could be caused by the cancer coming back or by a new disease or cancer. Survivors should also continue to follow the American Cancer Society guidelines for the early detection of cancer.

To help maintain good health, survivors should also:

These steps may also lower the risk of some cancers.

For more information about follow-up care and second cancers after treatment for specific types of cancer, see our detailed guides for each cancer type.

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.

Last Medical Review: December 11, 2014 Last Revised: December 11, 2014

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