Fresh Focus on Second Primary Cancers

Tony Hagen @oncobiz
Published: Thursday, Apr 05, 2018
Sudipto Mukherjee, MD, MPH
Sudipto Mukherjee, MD, MPH
When investigators looked at roughly 150,000 cases of well-differentiated thyroid cancer (WDTC) using the SEER database of the National Cancer Institute, they knew that the use of radioactive iodine (RAI) in conjunction with surgery and other treatments for thyroid cancer had increased dramatically over the years. This was concerning because RAI is a risk factor in second hematologic malignancies (SHMs), and its use is largely unnecessary in many cases of low-risk WDTC, according to Sudipto Mukherjee, MD, MPH, an associate staff member of the Department of Hematology and Oncology at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.1 Mukherjee and colleagues sought to determine whether oncologists and hematologists were overtreating with RAI in cases of WDTC, and thus putting their patients at risk for SHMs. The answer was a disheartening “yes.“

Thyroid Cancer Example

Although thyroid cancers are a fraction of the new malignancies diagnosed annually in the United States, the link between second cancers and prior therapy is a striking example of the implications of prior therapy and the need for early intervention in cases of secondary cancer.
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