Breast Cancer Therapies Associated With Increased Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Larry Ostby  National Cancer Institute

"Fortunately, with the advances in breast cancer treatment, there has been a growing number of survivors", Mehta said.

She says neither her or her dad knew what prostate cancer was or what the symptoms were.

Identifying at-risk patients is crucial. ” said Michelle LeBaron of Northern Utah, now 58, who was diagnosed and treated for stage 3B inflammatory breast cancer in 2004.

Breast cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD) share a number of risk factors, including older age, onset of menopause, low-quality diets, family history, hormone replacement therapy, obesity, lack of physical activity and alcohol and tobacco use.

The problems can occur in patients with healthy hearts going into treatment. Delivery methods, such as doxorubicin as an intravenous infusion instead of a bolus dose, or liposomal formulations of doxorubicin compared to standard preparations, may preserve the efficacy of therapy while reducing the incidence of cardiotoxicity.

Doctors were also developing more-targeted radiation to reduce risks, the statement said.

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It highlights the need to prevent and treat heart disease in patients with breast cancer and emphasises the importance of cardiologists and oncologists working together to optimise the health of cancer patients. "Let's give these drugs and treatments to people who need them - the risk-benefit is more favorable - and let's do all we can to determine who is unlikely to benefit from the drugs and spare them the risks". 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.

"Heart disease and breast cancer share common risk factors such as age, sedentary lifestyle and smoking.More importantly, we see that numerous same things that improve heart health (healthy diet, healthy weight, exercise, not smoking) can also reduce a woman's risk for breast cancer". In addition, cardiovascular health can affect cancer treatment selection, since some types can result in heart damage.

Among the chemotherapies used in breast cancer that may compromise cardiac function, doxorubicin - or Adriamycin - and trastuzumab, also known as Herceptin.

Doctors will study samples of your tissue to see how likely the cancerous cells are to spread - and help you decide which treatment is most appropriate for you. Beta-blockers, aspirin and statins are all familiar drugs that can reduce the risk of both illnesses, and certain non-medical treatments, like exercise, can make a big difference, too. Women have screening for breast cancer and this is one reason why mortality rates for prostate cancer are now higher than those for breast cancer. Some evidence suggests that following the AHA Life's Simple 7 lifestyle-based health campaign may help lower the risk of cancer.

Other treatments, such as radiation, can damage heart arteries and cause the development of coronary artery disease or blockages. You're probably thinking heart disease.

Having a father or brother who's also been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their life increases your risk twofold. However, heart disease prior to, during or after cancer treatment can impact outcomes.

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