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According to researchers, children who have survived cancer are at increased risk of developing secondary tumors, says Reuters' Frederik Joelving. Gregory Armstrong from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital tell Reuters that skin cancers — which could be considered relatively harmless under normal circumstances — appear to be early warning signs of more aggressive disease in such kids. In a new study published by Armstrong and his team in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the researchers found that such skin cancers could be a biomarker of risk in such patients, Joelving says. The study tracked about 14,000 kids who had survived cancer for at least five years, for up to 38 years after diagnosis — five percent developed a new cancer, Joelving says. The risk for a third cancer was 12 percent in patients who had already beaten cancer twice, and the risk was increased for patients who had received radiation as part of their treatment, he adds. Armstrong says this study makes the case for keeping a closer eye on survivors of childhood cancer, and that such patients must be diligent about seeing their doctors. The good news, he adds, is that many more children are being cured of cancer now than they were 50 years ago.

The Scan

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