Cancer survivors can be affected by a number of health problems, but often a major concern is facing cancer again. Cancer that comes back after treatment is called a recurrence. But some cancer survivors may develop a new, unrelated cancer later. This is called a second cancer.
Unfortunately, being treated for cervical cancer doesn’t mean you can’t get another cancer. Women who have had cervical cancer can still get the same types of cancers that other women get. In fact, they might be at higher risk for certain types of cancer, including:
- Cancers of the mouth and throat
- Cancer of the larynx (voice box)
- Anal cancer
- Acute myeloid leukemia
- Vulvar cancer
- Vaginal cancer
- Lung cancer
- Cancers of the bladder and ureter
- Stomach cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Pancreas cancer
Many of these cancers are linked to smoking and/or infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV), which are also strongly linked to cervical cancer.
The increased risks of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and cancers of the rectum, bladder, and soft tissue seem to be linked to treatment with radiation.
Can I lower my risk of getting a second cancer?
There are steps you can take to lower your risk and stay as healthy as possible. For example, women who have had cervical cancer should do their best to stay away from tobacco products. Smoking might further increase the risk of some of the second cancers that are more common after cervical cancer.
To help maintain good health, cervical cancer survivors should also:
- Get to and stay at a healthy weight
- Keep physically active
- Eat a healthy diet, with an emphasis on plant foods
- Limit alcohol to no more than 1 drink per day
These steps may also lower the risk of some other health problems.
See Second Cancers in Adults for more information about causes of second cancers.
Getting emotional support
Some amount of feeling depressed, anxious, or worried is normal when cervical cancer is a part of your life. Some women are affected more than others. But everyone can benefit from help and support from other people, whether friends and family, religious groups, support groups, professional counselors, or others. Learn more in Coping With Cancer.
© 2018 American Cancer Society. All Rights Reserved. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervicalcancer/detailedguide/cervical-cance... on June 5, 2015. Reprinted with permission.