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Breast Cancer Increases Risk of Another Tumor, Study Reports

Update Date: Oct 17, 2013 03:01 PM EDT

For cancer patients, going through the recovery process can be a long and difficult time. Even though the severity of cancers varies depending on the cancer's stage of development and the type of cancer, therapy and medications can take a toll on the body. Now, according to a new study, cancer patients might need to worry about other factors as well. This new study is reporting that people diagnosed with breast cancer have an increased risk of developing a second tumor in another part of the body.

For this study, a national team of female Spanish researchers examined the risk factors involved for breast cancer patients. They specifically looked at women from Granada who were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer for the very first time. The 5,897 cases were diagnosed between 1985 and 2007. 314 women from the sample set were afflicted with a second primary cancer. The researchers then examined 22,814 additional cancer cases that occurred in other parts of the body. In this group, 171 of them developed breast cancer as their second cancer. The data came from the Granada Cancer Register, which is a population-based cancer register that encompasses over 900,000 people with 450,000 of them being female. The register was started in 1985 and become a part of the Andalucian Cancer Registry in 2007.

Based from this data, the researcher calculated that women with invasive breast cancer had a 39 percent increased risk of developing a tumor in another part of the body. For women under 50-years-old who had breast cancer, their risk of getting a second cancer was twice as high as the risk for the general population. The researchers also calculated that for this younger group, the risk of getting ovarian cancer after breast cancer was around five times higher than the general population. For women over the age of 50, their second cancer risk was 29 percent higher. This group of older women was three times more likely to develop endometrial cancer if they had breast cancer first. For both groups, the risk of getting non-melanoma skin cancer rose as well.

The increased risk of developing a second tumor raises concerns for both doctors and patients. Breast cancer survivors might need to be extra diligent when it comes to monitoring healthcare after battling cancer. The study was published in Gynecologic Oncology.

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