Cervical cancer radiotherapy increases colorectal cancer risk

Cervical cancer radiotherapy increases colorectal cancer risk


Young women treated with radiation for cervical cancer have increased risk of colorectal cancer. Therefore, they should begin screening earlier than normal.

This recommendation comes after researchers found a high incidence of secondary colorectal cancers among cervical cancer survivors treated with radiation. In particular, these researchers suggest that the younger women in this group begin colorectal cancer screening about eight years after their initial cervical cancer diagnosis (and not wait until age 50 as normally recommended).

The researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UMTB) have published the study in the journal Medical Oncology.

Previous studies have indicated that cervical cancer survivors treated with radiation have an increased risk for second primary malignancies, yet no preventive recommendations have been established.

Study details: 64,507 cervical cancer cases

The UTMB study analyzed 64,507 cervical cancer cases collected from 1973-2009 by the U.S. National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results program. Among cervical cancer survivors studied, colon, rectum and anus tumors were found to be two to four times more frequent in the group treated with radiation than in the group not treated with radiation. A breakdown of the findings include:

  • More than half (52.6%) the cervical cancer patients studied received radiation treatment. Colon cancer among those treated with radiation began appearing at significantly higher rates approximately eight years later.
  • After eight years, the risk for developing colon cancer was double for women who received radiation compared to those who had not.
  • Their risk of rectal cancer quadrupled after 15 years.
  • After 35 years, women who had received cervical cancer radiation therapy were three to four times more likely to have developed colorectal cancers than women who had not.

Researchers: new screening strategies should be considered

"We are confident from our study that it is time to consider new colorectal cancer screening strategies for cervical cancer survivors," said UTMB's Dr. Ana M. Rodriguez, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and lead author of the study.

"As more people are surviving their cancer diagnosis, we need to learn more about the outcomes 10, 20, 30, even 40 years later and how to take care of their long-term medical needs."


Source: Science Daily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140417101454.htm

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