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Secondary Cancers

catcon49's picture
Posts: 398
Joined: Aug 2008

Hi everybody. Well it's that time of year again. Mammo-time. Got the recall, again this year. Last year everything turned out fine. So now, diagnostic, then ultra sound, than MRI. Why can't we skip it and go right to the MRI. Just had one in November, Which then I will have to go a 1 1/2 years without an MRI. Anyway, the question is: Does anyone know what percentage of lung cancer survivors develop a secondary cancer? I know our risk is higher but how much? Also is the radiation exposure worth the test?

Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006


I actually found a table with an answer to your question of how high the risk is of various cancers after a first cancer. Even with some background in statistics, it was daunting to understand, but be my guest and explore if you wish.

The facts remain that our risk for more cancer is greater. It reminds me of the time my dad parked a metal ladder next to my basement bedroom window not far from a tall tree. A storm came by, lightning hit the tree, jumped to the ladder, then to my room where I was sleeping (though I woke up rather quickly!) in my little brass bed. My long hair was on end and the glass bottles I had on my bookshelf were lit up like lightbulbs. I asked my dad to move the ladder the next day, but he was sure it would never happen again... . Of course, the next time we had another nasty storm a few weeks later, the same thing happened. I spend the rest of that night sleeping on the livingroom couch. The next day I moved the ladder and the problem never happened again. I only wish that we could correct the problems that cause cancer to occur so easily. If our immune systems let cancer develop once aren't fixed, the same thing can happen again. So it is very important to keep looking for presence of cancer so it can be caught early.

The techs tell me that you don't get any more radiation with a mammogram than you get flying cross country or sunning on the beach for a few hours. (That made me think twice about flying or beach trips though I still do those from time to time!) My general conclusion was that it is worth the risk.


Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Posts: 281
Joined: Mar 2011

Thanks for posting that link. I found the discussion of "directionality" between primary and secondary cancers interesting.

But my eye kinda stopped on this: "Although chance or random distribution probably plays the most important role in second malignancies."

Well, there you go. Not worth worrying about it.

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