Doctors have long known that radiation can cause cancer. In addition, research has shown that radiation therapy for one cancer can increase the risk of developing another cancer later on. Factors that may affect that risk include the amount of radiation used and the area that was treated. 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. Radiation not only kills or slows the growth of cancer cells, but it can also affect nearby healthy cells. Damage to healthy cells can cause side effects.
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. For many types of cancer at higher risk among certain cancer survivors, such as lung and stomach cancer, no known screening method can affect prognosis. Radiation can disassemble atoms and damage the DNA of cells, leading to potentially serious side effects, including cancer. Talk to your doctor if you think you may be at risk for cancer because you were exposed to radiation.
For more information, see the fact sheets on Accidents at Nuclear Power Plants and Cancer Risk and Computed Tomography (CT) and Cancer Scans. When brachytherapy was compared to patients with external beam RT (EBRT), there were lower rates of second solid cancers overall (RR %3D 0.92; 95% CI, 0.83—1.0; significantly lower rates of second colon cancer (RR %3D 0.52; 95% CI, 0.37—0.7, and leukemia (RR %3D 0.60; 95% CI, 0.40—0.8). a cohort of British Childhood Cancer Survivor Study, the absolute excess risk for all types of second malignancy was 19% (95% CI, 11.7— 26.3%) after a median follow-up of 24.3 years. 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.
Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a bone marrow cancer that can develop into acute leukemia, has also been linked to radiation exposure in the past. 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. Radiation of certain wavelengths, called ionizing radiation, has enough energy to damage DNA and cause cancer. As already mentioned, prostate cancer is a good example of radiation-induced secondary cancers, since surgery and RT are equally effective for treatment.
After the change with age, patients diagnosed with cervical cancer at an early age had a higher risk of developing a second cancer. This will help the doctor detect possible complications from the original cancer and watch for signs of new cancers. However, the incidence of secondary lung cancer and sarcomas in the radiation field also increased (lung received, 0.5 Gy). Some drugs used to treat cancer are called targeted therapy drugs because they are designed to detect and attack certain genes or proteins found in specific types of cancer.