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Heart group warns of cardiovascular risks after treatment for breast cancer
02 February 2018, 09:10 | Franklin Nunez
Breast Cancer Treatment Can Be Tough on the Heart
And it called on cancer doctors to weigh the benefits of those treatments against the heart risks they pose. Breast cancer survivors especially aged women over the age of 65, are more prone to die from cardiovascular disease than breast cancer, emphasizing the significance of potently overseeing heart disease risk components during and succeeding cancer treatment.
"There has to be a team approach to the care-not only the oncologists who are doing, I think, a fabulous job with breast cancer but also the cardiologist", Dr. Pina said, "so that the heart can be monitored, the patient can be advised about what can happen with some of the medications, and that we can treat them". This should not scare the patient from taking treatment for breast cancer but should be in a consistent communication with their doctor about the kind of treatment being given to them.
For example, some cancer treatments, such as HER-2 targeted therapies, can cause weakening of the heart muscle, a condition known as heart failure.
In addition, some treatments, such as antimetabolites, can cause heart arteries to spasm, which can cause chest pain symptoms but could also cause heart attacks.
Among options for hormonal breast cancer therapy, tamoxifen favorably affects lipid profiles, but studies showed no beneficial effect on CVD risk. Doxorubicin is frequently used in breast cancer therapy and it can damage heart cells, but administering the drug slowly rather than all at once could reduce the risk of heart failure.
"Adriamycin-induced congestive heart failure symptoms can show up three to five years after treatment and easily be missed by an internist or ER doctor who does not see a lot of these patients", he said.
Other treatments, such as radiation, can damage heart arteries and cause the development of coronary artery disease or blockages.
The anthracycline class of chemotherapeutic drugs can trigger abnormal heart rhythms, which may be benign or potentially life-threatening. The fact that these diseases share some risk factors suggests that there are lifestyle choices, primarily diet and exercise, that could help decrease the risks of developing both diseases.
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Knowing a woman's history of breast cancer treatment can be crucial when treating her heart. That's why the America Heart Association has published the first scientific statement about these two major threats to women's health.
Adherence to a number of ideal heart health behaviours including being physically active, achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight could help.
Plans to create an accurate test fit for use as part of a nationwide prostate cancer screening programme, as well as developing new treatments for advanced prostate cancer are already well underway.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013 found that exposing the heart to radiation during radiotherapy could increase the rate of heart disease among breast cancer patients later in life. "And that's why Life's Simple 7 is important for all patients with and without breast cancer".
This compares with 11,442 women who die from breast cancer.
Despite prostate cancer overtaking breast cancer to become the third biggest cancer killer, the shift does not represent a worsening situation for those with the disease.
Mehta disclosed no relevant relationships with industry.
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