Aug 24, 2015

By Kim O'Hare

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Second cancers are on the rise. Nearly one in five new cancer cases in the U.S. now involve someone who has had the disease before.

By “second cancers,” doctors are referring to a different tissue type or a different site, not a recurrence of the original tumour.

About 19 percent of cancers in the United States now are second-or-more cases. In the 1970s, only nine percent were second cancers.   Over that period, the number of first cancers rose 70 percent while the number of second cancers rose 300 percent.

Despite the numbers related to second cancers, it is, in a way, a success story since more people are surviving cancer and living long enough to get it again, because the risk of cancer rises with age.

However, psychologically, a second cancer often is more traumatizing than the first.

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