What is known?
Studies of childhood cancer survivors have commonly shown they are at increased risk of subsequent cancer, but most previous studies have involved patients diagnosed two or more decades ago and/or have been limited to five-year survivors only.
What is new?
Our results provide the first estimates at the national level of the risk of second cancers within a recent group of Australian childhood cancer survivors. The risk of a second primary cancer was increased five-fold among Australian childhood cancer survivors compared to cancer rates in the general population. Survivors were most at risk of a second cancer within the five years following first diagnosis, and although the risk remained elevated, it subsided as time passed.
What does this mean?
Survivors of childhood cancer require ongoing monitoring for second primary cancers. Continued research is required to refine treatments and reduce toxicity, while maintaining high rates of survival.
Contact: Danny Youlden
Reference: Youlden DR, Baade PD, Green AC, Valery PC, Moore AS, Aitken JF. Second primary cancers in people who had cancer as children: an Australian Childhood Cancer Registry population-based study. Medical Journal of Australia. 2020; 212(3):121-125.