(HealthDay News) — Hodgkin lymphoma survivors have an increased risk of a second cancer, with risk still elevated at 35 years or more after treatment, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Michael Schaapveld, Ph.D., from the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, and colleagues enrolled 3,905 people in the Netherlands who had survived for at least five years after initiation of treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Patients received treatment at age 15 to 50 years, between 1965 and 2000. The risk of a second cancer was compared for these patients with the expected risk in the general population.

The researchers diagnosed 1,055 second cancers in 908 patients, with a median follow-up of 19.1 years, for a standardized incidence ratio (SIR) of 4.6 in the study cohort versus the general population. At 35 years or more after treatment, the risk was still elevated (SIR, 3.9). The cumulative incidence of a second cancer was 48.5 percent at 40 years in the study cohort. There was no difference in the cumulative incidence of second solid cancers according to study period (1965 to 1976, 1977 to 1988, or 1989 to 2000; P = 0.71 for heterogeneity).

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“The awareness of an increased risk of second cancer remains crucial for survivors of Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” the authors write.

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