Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Study finds more young people die from second cancers

Cancer does not respect age. Children, young adults, middle-age adults and the elderly in Alabama can all be cancer victims. Unfortunately, some people find that they suffer from cancer more than once in their lifetimes. In fact, one report suggests that of those who suffer from a second cancer, it is often more fatal for the young.

According to the research, the odds of beating cancer are greater for a first-time cancer than for a subsequent, unrelated cancer. The difference between first-time cancer survival odds and second-time cancer survival odds is greatest for those under 40 years old. The study examined data spanning from 1992 to 2008 on over one million people of all ages who had cancer in the United States. Then researchers looked for subsequent, unrelated cancers. Researchers determined that the five-year survival rate for young people was 80 percent after an initial cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, the survival rate for subsequent, unrelated cancers sunk to 60 percent for young adults and 47 percent for minors. For older adults with a subsequent, unrelated cancer, the survival rate dipped from 70 percent to only 61 percent.

The study could not definitively conclude why younger people did not survive subsequent, unrelated cancer at the rate that older people did. The research did suggest however, that younger people may have responded poorly to treatments of subsequent, unrelated cancers, that there may have been limits on their treatment options due to their initial cancer treatment or that they simply did not have the physical reserves that older adults had to withstand the treatment of subsequent, unrelated cancers.

While this study is interesting, it highlights the fact that coping with cancer can be difficult, if not fatal. The Social Security Administration recognizes that cancer can be a long-term disabling condition that sometimes has not expectation of being cured, so it includes cancer on its Listing of Impairments. People suffering from cancer face steep medical costs on top of the lost wages they incurred from being unable to work. When this happens, cancer sufferers may want to seek Social Security Disability benefits for illness. These benefits could provide cancer sufferers with the financial help they need to get by while they focus on recovery.

Source: WebMD, "Second Cancers Deadlier for Younger People: Study," Robert Preidt, April 20, 2017

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