Cancer is a disease that often reoccurs in survivors. A famous example of a cancer reoccurrence is that of United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1999. Over a decade later she was found to have pancreatic cancer.
Justice Ginsburg was lucky. Her pancreatic cancer was detected in the very early stages. This was because she had undergone constant screening and checkups for cancer reappearance after her first bout with colon cancer in the 90s. Pancreatic cancer is difficult to treat unless it is found early on.
It is estimated that up to one in every four people that had survived cancer will develop another form of cancer in the future. Many cancer survivors fail to realize this and skimp on screenings and other preventative measures. The number of cancer survivors in the USA has risen significantly in the past decades. It is also expected to rise even further in the next coming decades. Doctors cannot stress how important it is now to do routine screenings and checkups if you have had cancer in the past.
So, what is causing cancer to resurface in people that had it treated? Doctors believe that the factors that had first caused cancer to appear in individuals is responsible for it appearing again later. This includes things such as people smoking. A chronic smoker can develop lung cancer and then cancer of the bladder or the lung once again. HPV infections can greatly raise the risks of developing cancers of the throat, penis and vagina. Obesity is also being linked to higher incidents of cancer. If an obese person had cancer in the past, their obesity continues to be a major risk factor in redeveloping cancer once again.
Cancer treatments themselves can also lead to a cancer developing. Some chemotherapy or radiation procedures can cause genetic changes in the cells that may lead to a mutation resulting in cancer. This is much less common than in the past thanks to advances in medicine, but it continues to remain a possibility. Radiation can cause leukemia in patients while a drug called tamoxifen can lead to cancer of the uterus.
The best way to prevent cancer from reappearing is to reduce or eliminate risk factors such as smoking and obesity. Eating a healthy diet and exercise can also help. If you are a cancer survivor than the best thing you can do is to closely monitor your health and do routine checkups.