Men who have had prostate cancer have an increased risk of certain cancers

A major concern of many cancer survivors is whether they will have to face cancer again. When a cancer comes back after treatment it is technically a “recurrence”. However some survivors may develop a new and unrelated cancer which is termed a “second cancer”.

Men who are being treated for prostate cancer can indeed get another cancer, and in fact they might be at higher risk for certain types including cancers of:

• The small intestine
• Soft tissue
• Bladder
• Thyroid
• Thymus
• Melanoma of the skin

In addition, men who are treated with radiation therapy also have a higher risk of:

• Rectal cancer
• Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)

It is believed that the higher risk could be related to the dose of radiation.

There are ways to lower the risk of getting a second cancer

Prostate cancer patients can take steps to lower their risk of second cancers. One example is that prostate cancer survivors should do their best to stay away from all tobacco products and tobacco smoke. Smoking has been shown to increase the risk of bladder cancer after prostate radiation, as well as increase the risk of many other cancers.

There are other steps to take to help maintain overall good health:

• Get to and stay at a healthy weight
• Stay physically active
• Eat a healthy diet focusing on fresh foods
• Limit alcohol to no more than two drinks per day

As an added bonus, taking steps may also lower the risk of other types of health issues.

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