While this is not exactly welcome information, it is pretty important. The statistic is that 25% of patients over 65 and 11% of younger people who are diagnosed with cancer have had a previous cancer diagnosis. My non-medical brain tells me something like: "Well, since our bodies figured out how to make cancer once, it makes sense that they might do it again." I am sure that our doctors would explain it in a more scientific way, but that seems to be the bottom line. The positive addition might be: "And, since we were treated and are doing ok once, that is likely to be the case again." Not honestly sure if that is accurate, but it is comforting.
Since I fall into this group, I am weirdly reassured to have a lot of company. My first breast cancer was in 1993 when I was in my early 40s, and the second (a new primary) was in 2005. This year has been twelve years since that second diagnosis, and I have been kind of holding my breathe that there wasn't going to be a third. At least so far, that has been true.
From Eureka Alert Science News comes this article:
How common are new cancers in cancer survivors?
Read more: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-11/tjnj-hca112017.php
Bottom Line: One quarter of adults 65 or older and 11 percent of younger patients diagnosed with cancer from 2009 to 2013 had a prior cancer history.
Why The Research Is Interesting: The number of cancer survivors in the United States is growing and is estimated to reach 26 million by 2040. Understanding how common a subsequent cancer is among patients with a history of cancer is important for understanding ongoing or new cancer risk in survivors.
Who and When: 740,990 people diagnosed with new cancer from 2009 through 2013
What (Study Measures): Prior cancer among people diagnosed with a new cancer
How (Study Design): This is an observational study. Because researchers are not intervening for purposes of the study they cannot control natural differences that could explain study findings.
Authors: Caitlin C. Murphy, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, and coauthors
Results: The frequency of prior cancer among patients diagnosed with new cancer ranged from 3.5 percent to 36.9 percent and most prior cancers were diagnosed in a different cancer site.
Limitations: The order of multiple cancers diagnosed in the same year could not be determined.
Study Conclusions: Patients diagnosed with new cancer who have a history of cancer may be excluded from clinical trials and underrepresented in research. Understanding the impact of prior cancer is important to improve research, disease outcomes and patient experience.