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A 38-year-old female asked:

What are the chances of my child getting a secondary cancer after her leukemia treatment is completed? daughter, age 9, treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, no radiation, 2.5 years of intrathecal and oral chemo meds.

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Laura McMullen
Pediatrics 23 years experience
A : A paper published by the national cancer institute in 2007 looked at secondary malignancy rates in over 16, 000 kids diagnosed and successfully treated for leukemia and lymphoma. Overall, the rate of a second cancer in kids treated for leukemia (not specifying what kind of leukemia or treatment) within 30 years after diagnosis was 2.4%. The chance of developing cancer in the general (adult and kid) population is 0.6%. In this study, most secondary cancers occurred in kids that were treated for leukemia between the ages of 1 and 4 years of age. The other thing to consider is that they were looking at patients treated in the late 1970's and 1980's and treatments may have changed since then. The good news is that your daughter has a lot of things going for her such as her age, the type of leukemia she had (usually very treatable with less toxic medications than other cancers), and the fact that she did not have radiation. So her risk might be even less than the other kids in that study. If you have any specific questions about her care, please talk with her oncologist. I hope she stays happy and healthy! (odds are she will.) legal disclaimer: I am providing this general and basic information as a public service and my response to this question does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship. For any additional information, advice, or specific concerns, please speak with your own physician. The information provided is current as of the date of the answer entry.
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Dr. Morton Levitt
A Verified Doctoranswered
Pathology, Anatomic and Clinical 51 years experience
Secondary Cancers: The literature suggests that successfully treated all patients, who did not have radiotherapy, are at no increased risk for secondary cancers. With radiation, the risk has been cited as as much as 20-fold.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Oct 3, 2016


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