Many Years Ago, Radiation Therapy Was Recognized as a Possible Cause of Cancer. In fact, much of what we know about the health effects of radiation comes from studying survivors of atomic bomb explosions in Japan. We have also learned from workers in certain jobs that included radiation exposure and from patients treated with radiation therapy for cancer and other diseases. The strength of this treatment can damage DNA and destroy healthy cells and tissues.
However, because it is rare, the many benefits of radiation therapy often outweigh this risk. Most side effects go away after treatment. However, some continue, return, or develop later. These effects are called long-term or late effects.
A possible late effect is the development of a second cancer. This is a new type of cancer that develops because of the original cancer treatment. The risk of this late effect is low. And the risk is usually lower than the benefit of treating the first cancer.
Nakamura explained that radiation-induced cancers can occur in pediatric cancer survivors, who are often given intensive chemoradiation therapy. They can also occur in adult cancer survivors. Radiation-induced cancers can arise at a wide range of intervals after cancer treatment, from several years to decades. While these cancers most commonly occur in a wide variety of solid tissues, blood cancers can also arise after radiation therapy, he said.
The American Cancer Society offers programs and services to help you during and after cancer treatment. Studies in this cohort have found that most second RT cancers occur in the volume irradiated by the primary radiation field, where the dose exceeds 2.5 Gy. These data estimated that each Gray (Gy) of radiation increases the rate of solid cancers by approximately 35% (90 CI, 28— 43%) in men and 58% in women (90 CI, 43— 69%). It's not possible to predict who might have a second cancer, but sometimes cancer treatment can put a person at higher risk for a second cancer.
There are some steps you can take to manage your concerns if you are worried that you may have another type of cancer after radiation therapy. Many factors contribute to the development of RISM, such as the age at which radiation is received, the dose and volume of the irradiated area, the type of organ and tissue irradiated, the radiation technique, and the individual and family history of cancer. A non-threshold linear dose-response relationship (LNT) is used to describe the relationship between radiation dose and cancer onset. However, it is not fully understood why certain people and tissues are susceptible to cancers caused by radiation.
Radiation therapy has been considered a double-edged sword, as it has a well-established role in the treatment of solid cancers, but unfortunately it is likely to induce cancers years after treatment. After the change with age, patients diagnosed with cervical cancer at an early age had a higher risk of developing a second cancer. Harris, who called radiation “energy in motion,” emphasized that “not all radiation is created equal. Similarly, in a cohort of British childhood cancer survivors (British Childhood Cancer Survivor Study), the absolute excess risk of all types of second malignancy was 19% (95% CI, 11.7— 26.3%) after a median follow-up of 24.3 years.
Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a bone marrow cancer that can develop into acute leukemia, has also been linked to radiation exposure in the past. As already mentioned, prostate cancer is a good example of radiation-induced secondary cancers, since surgery and RT are equally effective for treatment. .