Avoiding heart disease should be considered during breast cancer treatments

Study highlights the intersection of Heart Disease and Breast Cancer

Dr. Laxmi Mehta a cardiologist at The Ohio State University Ross Heart Hospital

"Radiation therapy does have that risk of developing coronary artery disease, and it can be several years to a decade or more later", Mehta said.

HER-2 directed therapies are created to combat particularly aggressive forms of breast cancer, but the treatments might be doing more harm than good, research has found.

It claims 11,819 lives a year - overtaking breast cancer as the third deadliest form of the disease. Taxanes, such as paclitaxel, can cause an abnormally slow heart rhythm, while hormone drugs such as tamoxifen can cause potentially fatal thromboembolisms, or blood clots. Trastuzumab (Herceptin) can cause heart failure, especially in women over 50 and those with underlying heart disease or hypertension.

"Any patient who is going to undergo breast cancer treatment, whether they have heart disease at the beginning or not, should be aware of the potential effects of the treatments on their heart", said Indian-origin Laxmi Mehta, Associate Professor at The Ohio State University in the US. Tamoxifen adversely affects clotting parameters and increases the risk of venous thrombosis and thromboembolism. "With the evolving intersection of the cardiovascular and oncologic fields, comprehensive care is an essential element in the management of cancer patients to maximize gains in cancer treatment while minimizing the potential deleterious impact on cardiovascular health".

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Overall, "one of the great things about the cancer world right now is that there are more and more survivors", Mehta said. "We want patients to undergo the best treatments available". Previous studies have shown that the administration of dexrazoxane to patients receiving chemotherapy may decrease the incidence of heart failure and cardiac events.

"Older breast cancer survivors are more likely to die from other diseases and not breast cancer, and cardiovascular disease is the most frequent cause", she said.

There's a new warning about the connection between breast cancer and the leading killer of women: heart disease. A century ago only two per cent of people died from cancer.

It's another common belief that a cancer relapse is more imminent than heart failure, but that's not true, the authors wrote. Researchers have been able to use this information to create gene-targeted therapies for these patients, and genes involved in the development of CVD have been identified, but more work needs to be done. But primary care physicians might not be as knowledgeable, and it's useful to "remind the busy general practitioner and the medical oncologist that they need to pull the cardiologist in". ” said Michelle LeBaron of Northern Utah, now 58, who was diagnosed and treated for stage 3B inflammatory breast cancer in 2004. But in some breast cancer patients, heart failure can be permanent.

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It's not unusual, Brawley said, for a breast cancer patient who underwent chemo years earlier to wake up one day with swollen ankles and shortness of breath, symptoms of congestive heart failure.

More than 250,000 new cases of breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in 2017, according to the American Cancer Society, with 81 percent being diagnosed in women aged 50 and older.

In the U.S. and the United Kingdom, about 12% of women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetimes, according to the National Cancer Institute and the organization Cancer Research UK.

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