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How can cancer treatment sometimes cause second cancers?

Some of the medications used to treat cancer are nonspecific in their activity. That is they have a "shotgun" effect on healthy and well as cancerous cells. While the majority of the bad cells tend to be more affected, a small percentage of normal cells also get damaged in the process leading to a very low risk of developing cancer. This is not only true for chemotherapy agents but for standard medications as well. If you look at the drug packet insert, you can see whether or not a medication is "mutagenic" or cancer causing. The benefits of most standard medications (including chemotherapy) many time outweigh the risks associated with it. Therefore, this is the impetus for taking chemotherapy as the risk of developing cancer due to treatment is extremely small itself.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.