Five-year survival of patients with lung cancer has doubled in England during the past 15 years as lung cancer treatment has become more effective, leading to increasing numbers of survivors.
So, optimising surveillance of second primary cancer in this high risk group is becoming increasingly important. Understanding how often such second cancers develop and when – and who are the patients at greater risk – is a critical first step.
A new study finds that amongst lung cancer survivors, particularly women, there is a higher risk of getting a second smoking-related cancer for at least a decade from the time of the first primary lung cancer diagnosis. The population-based cohort study, published this week, shows that those aged 50–79 at first diagnosis are at particularly high risk.
The new evidence strongly suggests that lung cancer follow-up should be extended from 5 years to 10 years, say the researchers, and they propose surveillance for other smoking-related cancers including head and neck, laryngeal and oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma, although any changes will need careful evaluation.
The new statistical analysis, which was published in Thorax, compared the number of observed and expected second cancers in people who have had lung cancer, to determine which groups are at higher risk and to evaluate how the incidence of a second cancer changes over time.
This research was carried out by statistician Matt Barclay at the University of Cambridge’s Primary Care Unit with Georgios Lyratzopoulos, Fiona Walter, Sarah Jefferies, Michael Peake and Robert Rintoul.
Read the research
M Barclay, G Lyratzopoulos, F Walter, S Jefferies, M Peake, R Rintoul: ‘Incidence of second and higher order smoking-related primary cancers following lung cancer: a population-based cohort study’.
Queries: Lucy Lloyd, Communications Manager, Primary Care Unit