Many people that suffer from cancer have a far better chance of survival with the advances in chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Due to these patients life span increasing, researchers are studying the long term effects of treatments. One of the most serious of possible late cancer treatment complications is developing secondary cancer, as patients can end up with more than one type during their lifetime. It has become a very common disease, and studies have found that not all secondary cancers are due to the treatments. For instance, certain cancers that are inherited are due to gene changes which can increase the risk of ovarian and breast cancer in women. People that are exposed to substances that cause cancer are also at higher risk such as smoking which can cause cancer of the mouth, larynx, lungs and throat.
Although it is difficult to define the exact cause, the treatments thought to develop second cancers include radiation therapy which was recognized by researchers many years ago as a potential cause of it. The possible health effects and facts from radiation therapy have been taken from studies done on survivors of the Japanese atomic bomb blasts. In addition studies were done on workers that were exposed to radiation as well as patients that were treated for cancer and other disease with radiation. An oncology nurse jobs Australia can also involve research in this particular field. Types of leukemia such as AML, CML and ALL have all been associated to past radiation exposure. Bone marrow disorders such as myelodysplastic syndrome that can become acute leukemia have also been associated with exposure to radiation.
There are a number of factors that are associated with the risk of these mentioned diseases after radiation therapy such as the quantity of radiation that was exposed to the bone marrow and the amount that penetrated the bone marrow. Factors to consider include the dose rate, how long the treatment took and how often the patient received radiation therapy. After several years of radiation therapy, most secondary cancers develop. These cancers can be in the form of solid tumors, which have taken longer than fifteen years to develop.
Factors such as the area treated and the dosage as well as the age of the patient will determine the risk of developing it such as a solid tumor Cancers tend to develop in areas close to where it was originally treated. At the time of radiation treatment, age plays an important part and can cause solid tumors to form such as stomach cancer, bone sarcoma, lung cancer and other such cancers. Research is still inconclusive.