• Genetic mutation during chemo or radiation

    Asked by alivenwell on Thursday, February 14, 2013

    Genetic mutation during chemo or radiation

    I recently read a rather disturbing article that indicates success in a first round of treatment, however, that treatment potentially does damage to other cells that may mutate into cancerous cells unrelated to initial type of cancer. How many of you have multiple types of cancer that seem to be unrelated?

    5 Answers from the Community

    5 answers
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Dear alivenwell,

      I cannot answer your question, but as a Medical Librarian, I cannot help being intrigued by where you read this article that you refer to. Can you give the source? I have breast cancer, but colorectal cancer runs rampant in my family (I'm the one and only breast cancer patient with no precedence).

      Thanks much,

      over 3 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      I have heard the same and I have read articles to that effect, but the chances are very small. With radiation it is more possible with Ionizing radiation because of its high-frequency which makes it strong enough to actually remove an electron from an atom or molecule. Ionizing radiation is used in PET, CT scans, X-rays and some other diagnostic tests (not MRI's) as well as treatments like gamma and external radiation; but you have to remember that radiation treatment is aimed at the tumor so the chances that you would get a second primary as a result of a normal cell over radiated are slim. Non ionizing radiation are low-frequency and do not have the strength that ionizing radiation does, so the chances that it would cause a mutation are virtually non-existent. Non ionizing examples are the radiation sources like cell phones or microwaves.
      Some chemotherapies can cause a mutation, especially alkylating agents like cisplatin, cytoxan, carboplatin or oxaliplatin because their function is to work directly on the DNA itself. A lot depends on your dose, how long you are on it, etc. Over exposure to any harsh chemical can be dangerous, especially if it is a product that has carcinogenic properties. I hope this gives you some clarity, Carm RN.

      over 3 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      I am being treated for two cancer at this point in time metastasized TNBC and Advanced Kidney cancer. I just got the results of a genetic panel which checked for mutations that can cause cancer, a few probably benign abnormalities were found, but no mutations. My BRCA test came back negative including all subsets. I developed stage 1 TNBC a year after I started treatment for Advanced Kidney cancer. The TNBC Metastasized 1.5 years after initial diagnosis and treatment. My state 1 Kidney cancer was treated just with surgery and took 14 years to come back.

      over 3 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      I was treated for Hodgkin in 1988 and again in 1989. I was told that the treatment I was given Chemo AVBD and MOPP with Radiation left me more susceptible to leukemia. I was diagnosed for the third time with Squamous Cell Carcinoma 4 years ago. I couldn't get an answer from anyone for connections. I really don't see how they could point to anything and say "this" cause you to get "that". I think I'm just lucky that way. Just for kicks the cancer fairy decided to give me something new.

      over 3 years ago
    • alivenwell's Avatar

      The article was in the latest Readers' DIgest magazine and does reference NIH. I have heard of an original cancer spreading to another part of the body in its original form, but was not aware that treatment could actually mutate anything. AlizaMLS, your history sounds exactly like mine. Carm, thanks for the thorough explanation. This is new territory to me. It almost made me think of stopping chemo.

      over 3 years ago

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