The findings may help in the development of cancer screening guidelines for colorectal cancer survivors, said Amanda Phipps, of the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues.
The researchers analyzed data from 12 cancer registries on patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 1992 and 2009 and found that they had a 15 percent higher risk of developing a second cancer of any type than people in the general population.
The risk of another cancer is particularly high for those who had cancer in certain areas of the colon, the researchers found. Patients whose past cancers were in the transverse to descending regions of the colon had the greatest risk for subsequent cancers (30 percent increased risk) and for a second colorectal cancer (two to three times greater risk).
The study, published online July 15 in the journal Cancer, found that colorectal cancer survivors also had a more than four-fold increased risk of developing small intestinal cancer, no matter where in the colon or rectum their cancer had been located.
"In the long term, these findings may be useful in guiding strategies for cancer screening and surveillance after a first colorectal cancer diagnosis," Phipps said in a journal news release.
The American Cancer Society has more about colorectal cancer.