A secondary cancer is a new cancer, which is different from the lymphoma you were initially treated for, that develops after treatment for lymphoma. It may develop as a late effect of your initial lymphoma treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation.
All patients who have been treated for lymphoma have a higher risk than the general population of developing a secondary cancer likely as a result of treatment received for lymphoma. This increased risk continues for up to 20 years after treatment. The most common secondary cancers include:
- Lung cancer
- Brain cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer (especially for women who had radiation therapy to the chest prior to the age of 35)
- Other lymphomas
Furthermore, chemotherapy and radiation can also damage bone marrow stem cells and increase the chance of myelodysplasia. Myelodysplasia is a blood cancer that is a result of a defect of the bone marrow where the normal parts of the blood are either not made or are abnormal. It is also possible for a person to develop leukemia a few years after being treated for lymphoma.
Speak with your healthcare team about what the best care plan is for you to screen for these secondary cancers and about ways to lower the risk of a secondary cancer as well as the signs or symptoms to watch for.