The risk of secondary malignancies is an important component of cancer survivorship. Patients should be aware of the risks if they are receiving a treatment that may cause a secondary cancer. Healthy lifestyle changes (such as smoking cessation) can reduce a patient’s risk of developing one of these cancers. Patients at risk for secondary malignancies should receive any recommended screening procedures.

For patient information on this complex subject, some helpful Web sites include for survivors of childhood cancers, and for survivors of adult or childhood cancers, ONA 

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Lisa Thompson is assistant professor, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Aurora, Colorado.


1.    Wood ME, Vogel V, Ng A, et al. Second malignant neoplasms: assessment and strategies for risk reduction. J Clin Oncol. 2012;30(30):3734-3745.

2.    Zelboraf [package insert]. South San Francisco, CA: Genentech Inc; 2013.