Published: Mon, February 05, 2018
Medical | By Josefina Yates

AHA: Breast cancer treatments could raise risk of CVD

AHA: Breast cancer treatments could raise risk of CVD

Previous studies have shown that the administration of dexrazoxane to patients receiving chemotherapy may decrease the incidence of heart failure and cardiac events.

Instead, their urging patients to discuss the heart effects of breast cancer treatments with their doctor. "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".

The American Heart Association released a scientific statement, warning that some breast cancer therapies pose serious risks of heart disease.

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HER-2 targeted therapies, for instance, are popular cancer breast treatments that can save patients' lives, but they can also lead to heart failure, which is a weakening of the heart muscle. "But it's important for people to know that the heart needs to be taken care of before, during and after treatment".

She highly recommended talking to your doctor before undergoing treatment.

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Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society and a longtime critic of overtreating breast cancer, said the report is a reminder to oncologists that side effects of cancer treatments can do real harm to patients.

An interactive online tool has been shown to improve patient knowledge of breast cancer treatment options, compared with a static informational website.

But Dr. Pina and the AHA said that women should not stop their cancer treatments. Heart failure and left ventricular dysfunction can be adverse effects of both drugs.

In fact, the AHA says, breast cancer survivors - especially those older than 65 - are more likely to die of heart disease than a cancer comeback.

"With half the investment and half the research it's not surprising that progress in prostate cancer is lagging behind". For instance, the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin can damage heart cells, but studies have found that when doxorubicin is administered slowly, rather than all at once, the risk of heart failure may be reduced. "This is much better than a few decades ago", she said.

Some prostate cancers are low-risk and do not need to be treated with radiotherapy, or operated on.

Experts credit the discrepancy to the sheer number of organizations raising funds, worldwide, and the massive public relations efforts to stamp out breast cancer. Gilchrist's Healthy Heart program is created to counteract those effects by encouraging women to exercise and eat healthy foods. After having a mastectomy a few years ago, she had trouble exercising and put on weight.

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