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From the Spring 2015 Quest
Close examination is necessary in the pursuit of scientific discovery. © Dan Oldfield

The current 10-year relative survival rate for men diagnosed with prostate cancer is 99.7%. This long life expectancy could expose patients to the possibility of developing second primary cancers. In 2011, Dr. Catalona and his research team found that the most common other malignancies in their prostate cancer patients were nonmelanoma skin cancer (13.6%), leukemia (7.3%), melanoma (3.9%), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (0.7%), colorectal cancer (0.6%), and multiple myeloma (0.3%).1

A new study from the University of Michigan examined 441,504 men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1992 and 2010 and compared their risks of developing other types of cancer with the general population.2 Of the prostate cancer survivors, 10% developed a second primary malignancy.

Overall, prostate cancer survivors had a 40% lower risk of developing a second primary cancer compared with the general U.S. male population. Specifically, men in the study had a lower risk of being diagnosed with leukemia and cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx, esophagus, stomach, colon and rectum, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, lung and bronchus, and larynx. However, the men had a greater risk of bladder, kidney, endocrine and soft tissue cancers.

Men who received radiation therapy had an increased long-term risk of developing bladder and rectal cancers.

Researchers also found significant racial differences in the risk of being diagnosed with a second primary cancer. Black men with prostate cancer tended to have a greater risk of developing a second cancer than white men.

Study data was taken from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program (SEER) database.

  1. Cooper PR, et al. Prostate cancer risk alleles and their associations with other malignancies. Urology. 2011; 78(4)970e-20.
  2. Davis E., et al. Risk of Second Primary Tumors in Men Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer: A Population-Based Cohort Study. Cancer. 2014; 120(17):2735-41.
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