What is a Second Cancer?
- He is 77 years old and battling not one, but two cancers, yet he is still finding the time to learn something new — ice skating.
- Richard Epstein was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer last year. But he had already been battling chronic lymphocytic leukemia, also known as CLL, for two and a half years prior.
- Some cancer warriors will live cancer-free for the rest of their lives after treatment, but for others, it is possible to get a new, second cancer. Survivors need to know that it is possible to develop an entirely new cancer, even after surviving the first.
Last year, Richard Epstein was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. But he had already been battling chronic lymphocytic leukemia, also known as CLL, for two and a half years prior, according to Rebekah Bastian, Epstein’s daughter. (CLL is the most common leukemia in adults. This cancer starts in cells that become certain white blood cells, called lymphocytes, in the bone marrow. The cancer cells start in the bone marrow but then go into the blood, according to the American Cancer Society.)Read More
However, despite his health hardships, Epstein is still finding time to learn something new and find the cheer in life, as shown in a video of him ice skating with his instructor. The video, which Bastian posted to her Twitter account, has garnered more than 1 million views, more than 123,000 likes and about 12,000 retweets as of the time of this report.
“He gets an idea into his head about something new to learn or try and he just does it,” Bastian tells Fox Television Stations. And that is exactly what he did with ice skating. “He’s a very ‘learn by doing’ sort of person and doesn’t perceive a lot of barriers for himself, which I really admire.”
My father is 77 years old and has stage 4 prostate cancer. He decided to learn how to ice skate a few years ago, and just did this performance with his teacher.
For anyone that thinks it’s too late to try something new… ❤️ pic.twitter.com/0SZ3FmbNGE
— Rebekah Bastian (@rebekah_bastian) December 9, 2021
Epstein has been ice skating as a hobby for more than 10 years, and he started taking lessons about three years ago. The routine caught on video took him months to learn. And as they nail each part of the routine, you can hear clapping and cheering from the crowd of people watching.
Bastian says she shared the video because she felt that everyone “could use a little bit of optimism.”
“I just kept watching it (the video) over and over again,” she continues. “I just kept watching it and showing it to friends and my husband. I was tearing up in a happy way because it’s so beautiful on so many levels.”
“What I shared is the fact that it’s never too late to try new things or to start something new and that’s what was really welling up inside of me watching it. That sense of hope … we can always learn new things, there’s always new starts. We could all use a little bit of optimism right now.”
Bastian told her father that his video went viral on Twitter overnight, and he replied: “Oh, how nice. I always wanted to be a famous athlete!” So wholesome!
Understanding Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It starts in the walnut-shaped prostate gland, which is located between the rectum and bladder and produces the fluid that nourishes sperm. In the United States, most prostate cancer is caught with screening examinations.
Sometimes, the cancer is called “low-risk” and can be slow-growing, and treatment might not be necessary. In other men, the cancer may grow faster or be more aggressive and will require treatment, like in Epstein’s case. (But cancer is not stopping him from ice skating.) Because this cancer can behave so differently from one person to the next, screening and treatment decisions are individualized for each person.
According to SurvivorNet experts, if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, there is reason for hope as there are many options to successfully treat the cancer. Over the past decade, surgical and radiation options have leaped forward in reducing side effects of treatment while still delivering excellent cure rates.
For men diagnosed with advanced-stage disease, like Epstein, there are many new options that can treat your cancer and allow you to maintain an excellent quality of life. (It is unknown what type of treatment he is receiving.)
Often, a cancer survivor’s worst fear is facing the disease again — whether that be a recurrence or an entire second cancer. (If cancer is found after treatment, and after a period of time when the cancer could not be detected, it is called a cancer recurrence, according to the American Cancer Society.)
Some cancer warriors will live cancer-free for the rest of their lives after treatment, but for others, it is possible to get a new, second cancer, like in Epstein’s case. According to ACS, it is important for all cancer survivors to know that it is possible to develop an entirely new cancer, even after surviving the first.
That sounds scary; what is a “second cancer”? A second cancer is different from a cancer recurrence, which is when the same type of cancer a person had before comes back.
A second cancer is a new cancer that is unrelated to any previous cancer diagnosis; it is a completely different type of cancer. Sometimes the new cancer is in the same organ or area of the body as the first cancer, or a second cancer may develop in another organ or tissue.
Contributing: SurvivorNet staff