Breast cancer survivors also at increased risk for developing heart disease

15 Oct

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by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

Although breast cancer survivors usually worry about their long-term risk of recurrence, most of these women should be just as concerned about their hearts, medical researchers reported at a San Francisco oncology conference.

The 10-year risk of a serious cardiovascular event was at least as high as the risk of breast cancer for 78% of women, Dr. Aditya Bardia of Johns Hopkins and colleagues reported at the ASCO Breast Cancer Symposium.

Dr. Rowan Chlebowski of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles and chair of the session where the results were presented, said this link is a consistent message emerging in breast oncology:

“Breast cancer patients need more attention to cardiovascular health regardless of their risk level.  We need more interaction with cardiologists.”

This may mean referrals of high-risk patients for appropriate management, Dr. Bardia added. But counselling about risk reduction strategies common to cardiology and oncology, such as physical activity, may help avoid both hazards, he suggested.

Cardiovascular disease risk was more likely to be the predominant concern for women who had low grade tumours, small breast tumours, node negative disease, and early stage breast cancer.

Findings of Dr. Bardia’s preliminary studies don’t negate the importance of long-term management of breast cancer risk, but suggest more attention to the bigger picture is warranted. Other things are also important, and these results were estimates based on prognostic tools rather than actual outcome data, and the study did not factor in potentially important variables including obesity, diabetes, and the effect of breast cancer treatment on risk.

Read this report of the Breast Cancer Symposium presentation.

9 Responses to “Breast cancer survivors also at increased risk for developing heart disease”

  1. Amanda January 22, 2017 at 2:10 pm #

    A breast cancer survivor of 7 years with left side radiation now “looking forward” to upcoming heart valve repair/replacement. Yes, it happens.


    • Carolyn Thomas January 22, 2017 at 3:40 pm #

      So sorry to hear that you’re going through this, Amanda. Best of luck to you in your cardiac procedure…


  2. Bitsy04 December 31, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    I had a heart health check up this fall after reading about heart damage from the chemo I received for breast cancer in 2004. Sure enough I have found out I have had heart damage and a heart attack, which I was not aware of. I have had strange feelings in my legs and feet since early 2005, no one could figure out why. I was diagnosed with LBB before the surgery. In 2002, my heart was just fine.


  3. Jenifer Maron March 27, 2010 at 3:05 pm #

    I just found your heart site through Google. Very interesting breast CA/heart attack info!


  4. Alyssa W. January 11, 2010 at 4:20 am #

    Oh, great. As if we don’t already have enough to worry about just surviving breast cancer treatment. Thanks for ruining my day! 😉


  5. April December 27, 2009 at 6:11 am #

    If this is so, then women with breast cancer ought to be more cautious with their diet and have regular exercise to lower the risks of developing heart disease. I myself do an hour of brisk walking everyday plus eat a couple of apples right before sunrise. Not only is exercise and fruit good for the heart, but it also helps me with my mood swings!


    • Carolyn Thomas December 27, 2009 at 8:03 am #

      Absolutely right, as Dr. Bardia says above: “…risk reduction strategies common to cardiology and oncology, such as physical activity, may help avoid both hazards.” Two apples just before sunrise – sounds great! Thanks, April.


  6. Bernie R November 2, 2009 at 1:18 pm #

    Greetings! Very Interesting, I’ll quote this info on my site.



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