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When Ovarian Cancer Treatments Cause More Cancer

Posted Aug 24 2010 5:09am


It is a sad reality that at times there are treatment which may actually be worse for your body than the disease they are seeking to cure. It may feel like this when ovarian cancer treatments cause more cancer at a later date. Of course, when you consider that ovarian cancer is inevitably lethal if not treated aggressively, it is quickly apparent that you have little choice in your treatment options.

The cancer most commonly associated with radiation therapy offered to you for ovarian cancer treatment is leukemia. Even though there is not cut and dried method of ascertaining your risk factors, it has been demonstrated the amount of radiation to which your bone marrow is exposed during the time of treatment as well as the dosage of the radiation itself directly affect your chance of developing this secondary cancer. It has been estimated that if you will develop leukemia from your radiation therapy, it is within the first decade after cessation of treatment, with most cases being diagnosed after five to nine years. Cancer of the tissues surrounding the abdominal cavity greatly increases as well, and it has been shown that radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy has been noted in most cases where secondary cancers are diagnosed.

Interestingly, patients undergoing chemotherapy were at higher risk for developing secondary cancers than those who just underwent radiation therapy. Once again, leukemia was the most commonly developed secondary cancer that patients present with after their treatment. It is a sad prognosis that this kind of secondary cancer almost always has a poor outcome and patients are consistently monitored for the first symptoms of cell abnormalities and unexplained bodily changes. Generally speaking, secondary cancers associated with chemotherapy are diagnosed within about two years of treatment.

Ovarian cancer survivors are urged to keep their follow up appointments and physicians will keep a close eye on potentially cancerous growths in the digestive tract, the blood, the breast, and also the eye. Even those cancer survivors who remained cancer free for 10 years or more still have to be consistently monitored, since there have been recent studies that suggest a 15 year for incidents of pancreatic and bladder cancers. Regular cancer screenings will become part of your annual doctors’ visits and blood tests, and even CT scans should now be considered part and parcel of follow up care.

Even though it almost seems like adding insult to injury when ovarian cancer treatments cause more cancer, it is crucial to understand that you will not have a fighting chance at survival of your first cancer if you do not take radical and aggressive steps to get rid of it. Sure, you might consider a more conservative approach and hope that in the long run a kinder, gentler approach will lessen the future cancer risks, but keep in mind that this approach may actually shorten your life in that it will prevent the eradication of the cancerous cells the first time around before they have a chance to spread to other tissues and organic system.

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