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How common is it to have cancer three times?

cwb
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2010

A friend of mine has survived leukemia twice. She's been in remission for nearly 10 years. She was just told that they've found masses on her liver, lungs and uterus and has to have a biopsy done.

Is it possible that this could be something other than cancer? Are there long-term effects of treatment that could cause this? We're hoping and praying that it isn't cancer again. She's been through too much and it would be unspeakably unfair if she is diagnosed a third time.

I apologize for asking here, but I'm not sure where else I can ask and get an honest answer. I want to be prepared so I can be there as whatever support she needs.

cathyp's picture
cathyp
Posts: 366
Joined: Dec 2009

I'm hoping the best for your friend.

Is it possible? Unfortunately yes...I had Hodgkins Lymphoma twice and Breast Cancer from the radiation. Currently, I'm awaiting surgery to remove an ovarian cyst and I have an elevated CA-125 level, removing the uterus too because of a poyp, ovarian cancer and /or uterine cancer?? Many survivors do get 2ndary cancers, or more, from treatment or totally unrelated causes.

Again, best of luck to your friend

Cathy
HD 1989 - RADS
HD 1994 - ABVD
IDC, BC 2008 - DMX

dallen1
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2011

Cathy is my wife's name except hers is spelled with a K. My case is also simular.
I am on my 4th different cancer to go along with my 5 brain tumors I am on my 4th ear
cannal and drum as well as alot of bone loss. Unfortunately some of us get more than we truely deserve. I wish you well dear. Hang in there all, and stay positive

cathyp's picture
cathyp
Posts: 366
Joined: Dec 2009

Thanks for the kind words. I wish you the best too during the "interesting" journey we have. Guess we won the wrong kind of lottery! Staying positive here!

disneyfan2008
Posts: 5504
Joined: Oct 2010

long time friend had cancer and ok for many many years and got it back 2 more times...recently just died from it...she was about 80ish...so this was over about 25 yrs or so..

cwb
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2010

Good news! By some miracle, all the masses they found throughout her body are non-cancerous. Thank you for your support.

cancer survivor x 4's picture
cancer survivor x 4
Posts: 183
Joined: Sep 2009

Hello,
I have had cancer 4 times over a 20 year time span. Stage 1 breast cancer 3 times and also Stage 2 ovarian cancer. I wondered if there were any other people out there like me. I am currently fine and not doing any treatment. Thank-You, Paula

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5927
Joined: Apr 2009

That is remarkable that you has survived 4 times, I had NPC 3 times and I know I could not survive it again, it really takes its toll on your body. I am just at the 5 years mark from my last treatment and hope that it is gone for good.

Take care

chelceyrose
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2011

Am very happy you have survived cancer for the 4th time. I am into the 3rd year of my x3 cancer survivor.

1st time it was cervical with 19 tumors in uterus. Had hysterectomy but no chemo or radiation. That was in 1988. In 1999 was diagnosed with labia cancer - they removed my labia
without requiring chemo or radiation. In Jan 2008 - was diagnosed with anal cancer. The tumor was 5 1/2 cm. Couldnt remove the tumor and this time had chemo - 2x 96 hour drip, and radiation - 30 sessions over 6 week period. Halfway thru radiation got radiation burn so bad treatment was postponed for 2 weeks and then resumed.

There is still no sign of cancer, but the radiation has left a severe path of destruction. stenosis of the rectum, stenosis of the vagina, and a miriad of other symtoms. What they dont tell you is the radiation can continue to cause damage for up to 20 years. I have developed illnesses I never had:(ie: fibromyalgia, IBS, recurring pneumonia, asthma, etc.

It is a constant battle to maintain some sort of normalcy - but I am alive. I cherish the life God has given me, but do on occasion get into that "why me" mentality.

Keep the faith....prayers are with you.

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5927
Joined: Apr 2009

Sorry to hear of all the problems you are still having and you are so right as the side affects we get continue after the treatment stops for many years.

Welcome here to CSN, I do hope you plan to stay

God bless and keep you while in his workshop
Hondo

pamjw's picture
pamjw
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2011

Hope you read this because I like you have had cancer 4 times. At 15 I had lymphoma, then breast cancer at 28 then the other breast at 36, and last year cervical. I have been looking for someone who has survived for a long time because it is different than shorter diagnoses. Had a pet scan and mri last month...thankfully everything looked good. Just dealing with skin cancer right now. Had some taken off today on my face...ouch! Hopefully we can figure out a way to talk about it.

wendyleigh27
Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2011

Hi Pam-

For all you have gone thru you sound like me keeping a good attitude

I also had cancer when i was a teenager - Leukemia (ALL) when I was 16 in 1983 then due to relapse had a bone marrow transplant in 1985 (my deceased brother was a perfect match - had Total Body radiation then - did you have TBI??

Had heart issues due to adriamycin in 1988 - fine now

then 2008 due to radiaition I got thyroid cancer - had thyroid surgery and RAI treatment and then on meds - pretty lucky and hate to say an wimpy cancer

then this year got Salivary gland cancer again from TBradaition - no lymph nodes affected but due to my lucky background currently half way done with head/neck radiaiton treatment

and oh my lets not go into the skin cancers (mostly basil cells) i have at least 40 on my legs and arms since 2000 - again this is a side efffect from radiation.... have skin checks every 4 months and am thanful when it is just a few basil cells - mostly treat them myself with Aldara cream but yes some she has biopsy only had one on my face and had Moh's surgery years ago -

each af my many scars have a story ???? sound similar??? would love to hear more from you

I sure god spares me from breast and lung cancer (another side effect that can happen)

we both had enough!! But I am thankful I am alive!!!

Regards, Wendy

Gypsy1021
Posts: 5
Joined: Jun 2008

Hi, I've had 3 different types of cancer in 3 years:

2008: Stage Ia endocervical adenocarcinoma; 25 external and 5 weeks of internal radiation.

2010: breast cancer - invasive ductal carcinoma Stage I, and carcinoma-in-situ; mastectomy, 3/0 lymph nodes. 5 years of anastrozole/Arimidex;

2011: Stage I basal cell carcinoma.. excision w/clean margins and no further tretment.

I thought this was unusual... I guess not!

wendyleigh27
Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2011

Also didnt know there were others- Did you receive Total Body Radiation??

Due to TBI for my Bone Marrow Transplant in May, 1985

Leukemia ALL in Sept, 83 relapsed

then cardiomyopathy - 1988

then 2001 Hep C due to blood transfusion (they didnt check the blood before 1988)- now in remission

then 2008 thyroid cancer follicular - RAI treatment - meds doing goof

then March, 2011 - salivary gland cancer - successful surgery but due to my background doing radiation - head and neck radiation is the worse - 4 more weeks to go!!

seems like God only gives us so much to handle .... he can go to someone else now

Best Wishes

cathyp's picture
cathyp
Posts: 366
Joined: Dec 2009

Best wishes to you on your latest challenge.
Do you mind me asking, what were your symptoms for the salivary gland cancer?
Thanks,
Cathy

wendyleigh27
Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2011

Hi Cathy-

No problem asking any questions it helps- Well about 2 years ago a lymoh node under my chin seemed to pop in and out but it seemed to be everytime I had a sinus infection so ignored it and chalked it up to sinsus issues

then last October it stayed out and seemed a little larger - so while at the dentist he said due to my background and prior radiation I should see a oral surgeon in his office ..who sent me to his ENT

so no real symptoms except for the enlarged lymph node - guess for us - enlarged lymph nodes are not good mist of the time

Take care Cathy

cathyp's picture
cathyp
Posts: 366
Joined: Dec 2009

thanks Wendy!

Comparing notes is very helpful for me! I have burning mouth syndrome, that's whyI asked. Not sure if it is from GERD, surgically induced menopause and/or stress. The last few weeks I'm feeling a twinge under my tongue. Just trying to stay on top of all the possible long term effects from our treatments.
Cathy
HD 1989 - RADS
HD 1994 - ABVD
IDC 2008 - DB MX

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2334
Joined: Jun 2010

But at the same time, diagnosed 4 days apart in April 2010. Breast cancer and endometrial cancer, both early stage, low grade. Scared the you-know-what out of me. I've been told I'm at a higher risk for other cancers. Unfortunately, I think this is common.

Suzanne

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5927
Joined: Apr 2009

Wow sure seems like a lot of us here who have fought this fight more than once and are still here to tell about it.

Life is still good even after many treatments
Hondo

dallen1
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2011

dito

ellenm4's picture
ellenm4
Posts: 124
Joined: Dec 2011

Reading everyones post about having cancer more than once or even twice stuns me. Breast cancer stage 2b 2008 and now lung cancer stage 2 2011. I pray everyday that this will be the last I have to battle. Now reading all the post, I think I will step it up on the praying. I do pray that all recover and that none of us will ever have to battle this again!

trishpm
Posts: 22
Joined: Nov 2004

Several members of my family have had two different primary cancers; my sister has had three primaries, all early stage and treated only with surgery (renal cell carcinoma dx 1995, papillary thyroid cancer, dx 2004 and non-small cell lung cancer, dx 2004. She is now cancer free and has never had a relapse of any of her cancers. However, this year, when her doctor scheduled annual follow-up CT scans, her insurance company refused to pay for them. We have genetic cancers in our family, and are in the process of appealing.

I have read that 10% of cancer survivors have a second primary, and 0.01% of allsurvivors have three primaries.

Nerina's picture
Nerina
Posts: 8
Joined: Mar 2012

In 1996 (2 years after my daughter was born) I had AML which i had intensive chemo for, at that time I wasn't given a high long term survival rate and now in 2011 I had Ovarian cancer...had the Operation and 6 months of chemo. I must admit its taken it out of me this time and struggling to get back to "normal".... plus a marriage break up in that time so I feel like I've been dragged thru it all...and feel so old most of the time. I'm 46 and sometimes feel my life is just a shadow of what I'd hope for.
ahh well there must be a reason I'm still here so I keep on keeping on
Blessed be
nerina

dreaming
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2010

I was diagnosed with breast cancer Stage I Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma and tubular Type carcinoma, both diferent cancers 20 years , had a mastectomy and chemo. I count them as one,even they were in diferent parts of the breast.
In January I had polyps removed from my ovaries,my CA 125 was low; the week after I had Mohs surgery for Basal Cell Carcinoma on my face. I do not tan,or stay outdoors,I am a bookworm that likes indoors, neither I am a natural blond.
Had 2 biopsies in my arm and chest wall for breast about 11 years ago, both negative.
I was more freaked out by my last surgery, maybe because my large scar is on my face.
My oncologist tells me I have a low inmune system.

andreat6777
Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2002

Well guess it depends on definition of cancer. Dx dysgerminoma @9 and again @15. DCIS of the breast @30. Tubular adenomas...forerunner of colon cancer this summer. I thought I had it pretty bad until I went back to St Jude as an alumni and read something by a child who was fighting 4 different kinds at the same time.
Admittedly I have a rare but under diagnosed genetic cancer syndrome..Cowdens Disease. If you know someone who has several kinds of cancer as well as benign lesions look into it. It was the big medical mystery of my life....cancer and benign tumors with little way other than surgery to tell the difference (the 1990s).
Since I've had 26 years of knowing people with cancer I have experience but it is limited. A large number of my friends faced relapses of their initial cancers. As we have became older a number are experiencing secondary diagnoses. I've even had one other friend sans Cowdens have a tertiary diagnosis. My guess is this is because of effects of treatment and more of us surviving.

I found this post when looking up how common triple diagnoses are. I always want to buy those shirts or jewelry to help cancer research but can never afford ALL the colors but hey...if that's my biggest issue I am ok with it.

pamjw's picture
pamjw
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2011

I can not believe it has been nearly two years since i came back to this. Sorry Wendy, didn't mean to not respond. Went to nursing school for the past year, just something I had to finish when I was diagnosed with cancer number three. As far as the radiation, I have had it twice. When I was 15 with lymphoma, I had chemo, radiation, bone marrow biopsy and surgery (splenectomy). I believe this radiation (it was considerably stronger back in 1980) caused breast cancer on both sides about 10 years apart. With those I chose separate routes as far as surgery. The first breast cancer, I had chemo, and a total radical mastectomy in which they took a lat from my back and used that with a prosthetic and of course lymph node disection. The next time, i had chemo, but that first mastectomy was just too tough having only 1 side to sleep on during the recovery. So no reconstruction with that one, just removal of my right breast and nodes. Cervical they did chemo with Cisplatin this time, which has destroyed my muscles. They also did internal radiation and complete hysterectomy in which I had to go in a few weeks later to repeat the surgery becaused they missed a lymph node. About a year and a half ago I began having seizures and was wondering if all the chemo (at least a dozen agents) over 35 years did that. I have no insurance and really wish they would start a fund for people like myself who need it but have worked so can't get medicaid. Haven't been to a doctor in almost two years now, have tons of skin cancer and my abdomen is not feeling "right". I really hope that one day i can start a fund for deserving people who don't have access to health care that REALLY need it. I know my original doc would see me but he lives 800 miles away so it's a bit of a commute. Anyway, sorry again for not answering your question sooner and I hope you are doing well

punky777's picture
punky777
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2013

I have had 3 different kinds of cancer in 4 years.   Colon, Breast and Squamas Cell Skin (biopsy showed Bowen's Disease).

The doctor's say NONE are related to the other.  But,  all were found early and I am doing fine at this point. Cool

GEMLUVR
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2014

I can relate to you.  I had my annual mammogram and was having post-menopausal spotting so made an appointment with my ob/gyn.  Within two days of each other I was told I had uterine cancer (grade 1), and breast cancer.  Within the next 3 weeks I had a breast biopsy done and found out it was invasive intraductal carcinoma.  They also found I had thyroid cancer.  So late April to late May 2014 sucked for me.  Lumpectomy on left breast May 30th, total hysterectomy (TVH/BSO) 6 days later on June 5th.  The thyroidectomy was scheduled for June 10th but delayed until I finish chemo and radiation for the breast cancer (stage IIb).  I feel like I have had my legs knocked out from under me.  My family and friends are a terrific support system and I am trying my best to stay optimistic.  However, 3 primary cancer diagnoses (sp?) within one month has me wondering...what's next.

 

Good luck and prayers to all of you with similar histories.

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5927
Joined: Apr 2009

I had the same cancer three times to the same area always in the sinus, doctor said they did all they could do and gave me 6 months to a year at best. That was in 2006 and I am still here, I am a Christian and I believe and have a lot of Faith in the God I serve. Now some 12 year after the first treatment I have a lot of problems with side effects of radiation. I lost the ability to swallow and talks, being an Elder in my church I lot to preach but can no longer do that. So I started a ministry on the web to post my sermons on, what Satan did as a curse to me God turned into a blessing. Visit me at www.restoringgodstruth.com and read my sermon called Prison

 

Just have faith

Hondo

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