Double Danger

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POSTED: Monday, June 27, 2011 - 7:51am

UPDATED: Monday, June 27, 2011 - 8:02am

Childhood cancer survivors often face the disease again in adulthood.

Scott Gorton fought cancer as a child and won.

He was declared cancer-free after treatment with chemotherapy and radiation.

Now doctors like Anand Shivnani are learning that childhood cancer survivors like Gorton are at a higher risk of getting a second cancer.

"The type of cancer that we often hear about that's related to prior exposure to radiation is a type of muscle tumor called sarcoma," Dr. Shivnani explains.

Cancer free for decades, Gorton recently found a lump in his chest.

"It was the breast cancer, so it was a surprise to everybody," he says. "So within a week we had surgery, had a radical mastectomy."

The new tumor was in the same area where his radiation treatments were administered when he was a child.

"I had another scan two weeks ago and it came back completely clear," he adds.

Doctors carefully weigh the risks when treating childhood cancer patients with radiation, but say the risk is usually worth it.

"The good thing is that we are seeing more and more survivors from childhood cancers," says Dr. Shivnani. "With the current techniques that are used for various types of pediatric tumors we're hoping those risks will be less but we won't know that for another 20 or 30 years."
 

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