Secondary cancers are new cancers that are unrelated to a cancer you have previously had. They are not the spread of or the recurrence of an original cancer. Cancer survivors are at increased risk for a second cancer.
There are things that you can do to reduce your chances of getting a second cancer.
- Follow the survivorship care plan designed by your oncologist.
- Continue your routine medical care with your primary care doctor after you complete your cancer treatment.
- See your oncologist when recommended.
- Tell your doctors about any symptoms or new problems.
- Take medications as prescribed by your oncologist and primary care doctor.
- Complete cancer screening tests at recommended intervals.
- Work with your health care team to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Stop smoking.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat healthy food including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans. Limit the amount of red and processed meat you eat. Limit consumption of fast foods and sugar-sweetened drinks.
- Get regular exercise. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity each day.
- Limit your alcohol intake to 1 drink or less per day for women and 2 or fewer drinks per day for men.
- Be sun safe by covering your skin when in the sun, using sunscreen, and wearing sunglasses. Note: Exposure to UV radiation from indoor tanning devices can cause skin cancer.5 Avoid indoor tanning.
- Get enough rest and sleep.
Cancer care plan: this plan is completed by your oncologist.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recommends the use of two types of plans following the completion of cancer treatment:
- The treatment plan: this plan, completed by your oncology team, stores information about your cancer, the treatment you received, and any follow-up care that you should get. It provides basic information about your medical history to be given to any doctors who will care for you in the future.
- The survivorship care plan: in this plan, you will find information about the treatment you received for your cancer and the need for check-ups and cancer tests in the future. This plan also would include any potential long-term effects of the treatment you received as well as information about improving your health overall.
For more information:
Survivor support: The American Cancer Society also sponsors support programs and services. Check here for resources in your area.