Cancer Treatment and Cardiac Risk
This is important and rather scary. We know that some breast cancer treatments (some chemotherapy drugs, some hormonal therapies, some targeted therapies, and some radiation) may cause heart damage. I am aware that sentence contains many non-definitive adjectives--and pretty much sums up the state of knowledge. Meaning that it is impossible to really know and predict who will experience this problem and what we can do about it.
BreastCancer.org has a nice summary of research presented at a recent breast cancer symposium. Here is their article; it includes a link to the study if you want to read the whole thing.
Breast Cancer Treatments Seem to Increase Risk of Heart Problems
A new study suggests that breast cancer treatments may cause changes in body composition and blood pressure that
increase the risk of heart problems for survivors.
The study was presented at the 2013 Breast Cancer Symposium on Sept. 10, 2013. Read the abstract of “The impact treatment has on cardiovascular risks factors for breast cancer survivors.”
For this study, the researchers wanted to know if breast cancer treatment affected women’s risk factors for heart
problems. If it did, they also wanted to know if the effects varied by type of breast cancer treatment.
So they collected information on several cardiovascular risk factors from 3,674 women who hadn’t been diagnosed with breast cancer and 740 breast cancer survivors at the beginning of their treatment and again when treatment was done and during follow-up:
BMI (body mass index)
resting heart rate
total body fat
lean muscle mass
They split the women who’d been diagnosed with breast cancer into eight groups, depending on the type of treatment they got: