Smita Bhatia on Treatment and Risk of Developing Other Cancers

Smita Bhatia, MD, MPH, discusses the relationship between treatment for cancer and the development of other cancers.

Smita Bhatia, MD, MPH, the director of the Institute for Cancer Outcomes and Survivorship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, discusses the relationship between treatment for cancer and the development of other cancers.

It's been known that childhood cancer survivors are at an increased risk for developing other cancers later in life. It is also known that certain treatments increase the risk of developing specific cancers — for example, Bhatia says, radiation treatment to the chest for lymphoma may lead to the development of breast cancer.

What remains unknown, however, is why some survivors develop this complication of other cancers but others do not. Bhatia says it may be related to age or DNA-level changes, but work still needs to be done.