- Cancer Information
- Living well
- Living well after cancer
- Fear of the cancer returning
- Fear of getting a different cancer
Fear of getting a different cancer
Some survivors develop a second cancer that is different to the first cancer.
The following things may increase your risk of developing another type of cancer:
- past or continuing exposure to cigarette smoke or other cancer-causing agents (including asbestos, heavy metals, diesel engine exhaust, solvents and pesticides)
- skin damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or solariums
- getting older
- being born with an inherited gene that increases the chance of developing some cancers (about 5% of cancers)
- having some forms of cancer treatment, particularly as a child
- lifestyle factors such as eating an unhealthy diet, drinking too much alcohol, being overweight, and not getting enough exercise.
Some of these things you can change and others you can’t. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about any risk factor. For ways to reduce your cancer risk, see Looking after yourself. The tips on managing the fear of recurrence may help you deal with the fear of developing a second cancer.
I’m more aware of my own body and the need to get any changes checked out straightaway.Sam
Podcast: Managing Fear
Prof Michael Jefford, Medical Oncologist and Director, Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Lucy Bailey, Nurse Counsellor, Cancer Council Queensland; Philip Bullas, Consumer; Dr Kate Gunn, Clinical Psychologist and Senior Research Fellow, Department of Rural Health, University of South Australia, SA; Rosemerry Hodgkin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Prof David Joske, Clinical Haematologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and Clinical Professor of Medicine, The University of Western Australia, WA; Kim Kerin-Ayres, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Cancer Survivorship, Concord Hospital, NSW; Sally Littlewood, Physiotherapist, Seymour Health, VIC; Georgina Lohse, Social Worker, GV Health,VIC; Melanie Moore, Exercise Physiologist and Clinical Supervisor, University of Canberra Cancer Wellness Clinic, ACT; June Savva, Senior Clinician Dietitian, Nutrition and Dietetics, Monash Cancer Centre, Monash Health, VIC; Dr Elysia Thornton-Benko, Specialist General Practitioner and Research Fellow, University of New South Wales, NSW; Prof Janette Vardy, Medical Oncologist, Concord Cancer Centre and Professor of Cancer Medicine, The University of Sydney, NSW; Lyndell Wills, Consumer.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.