Breast cancer treatments increase the risk of heart disease, warns the AHA

Simon Moss
February 5, 2018

1 in the journal Circulation, gives an overview of the issue as well as some advice for women.

Certain breast cancer therapies, including popular HER-2 targeted treatments, could be harmful to the heart in patients already at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), the American Heart Association reported this week in a new scientific statement.

"It's incredibly encouraging to see the tremendous progress that has been made in breast cancer over recent years", Angela Culhane, CEO of Prostate Cancer UK, said in a statement.

"Then it becomes, 'What are the side effects?' " Mehta said.

From the start, women should have their cardiovascular health evaluated, Steingart said. "Some of them get sick, quite sick, with their heart failure".

When it comes to chemotherapy, any effects on the heart typically show up in the short term and can be detected during treatment, he said.

It has been known for years that some breast cancer drugs (including some also used for other cancers) can weaken the heart muscle, causing heart failure. Previous studies have shown that the administration of dexrazoxane to patients receiving chemotherapy may decrease the incidence of heart failure and cardiac events.

He said: "I was one of the lucky ones - thankfully my prostate cancer was detected early and I received treatment before it spread elsewhere".

Long-term breast cancer survivors can also develop heart problems long after the treatments end.

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Have you or someone in your family suffered from prostate cancer, and if so are you up to talking about that experience? Gilchrist's Healthy Heart program is created to counteract those effects by encouraging women to exercise and eat healthy foods.

The likelihood of cancer survivors dying from CVD vs cancer recurrence is increasing due to the improved efficacy of breast cancer therapies, making effective management and prevention of CVD a priority for this patient population as they age. But women may benefit from a new approach to treatment that weighs the benefits of specific therapies against potential damage to the heart.

"The introduction of precision medicine, a screening program and a weighty research boost has no doubt played an important role in reducing the number of women who die from the disease", she said. But if you tell your doctor you had chest radiation years ago, that would raise a red flag.

This means prostate cancer has overtaken breast cancer as the third biggest cancer killer in the United Kingdom, behind lung and bowel. You're probably thinking heart disease. "So remember that a healthy lifestyle is imperative".

The AHA statement might help explain two puzzles about cancer treatment. "Eating a healthy diet is imperative for both", said Mehta.

This compares to 11,442 women who die from breast cancer.

While it's not a symptoms of the cancer itself, it could be a sign of the disease: frequent peeing at night is linked to a possible tumour causing the prostate gland to swell.

However, new figures reveal that 11,819 men died in the United Kingdom from prostate cancer in 2015, overtaking breast cancer, which resulted in the deaths of 11,442 women.

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