Breast cancer treatments increase the risk of heart disease, warns the AHA

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"The intent is not to scare women away from any breast cancer treatments", stressed Dr. Laxmi Mehta, the lead author of the report and director of the women's cardiovascular health program at Ohio State University.

The statement is an outline of what is presently known about risk elements customary to both heart disease and breast cancer, the probable heart damage for few breast cancer treatments and recommended procedure to halt or minimize the damage.

"The intent of the paper is certainly not to say don't treat breast cancer", Mehta said.

The association between breast cancer and CVD begins with overlapping risk factors, including older age, obesity, and smoking. Life's Simple 7 includes being physically active, achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight, eating a healthy diet, avoiding tobacco, maintaining healthy levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.

And, of course, lifestyle changes can help prevent both diseases.

The evidence regarding postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is mixed. In contrast, data from the Women's Health Initiative suggested the effect varied according to the type of hormones used and whether a woman had an intact uterus. "This can cause isolated coronary artery disease in that portion of the artery".

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Chemotherapeutic agents (eg, anthracyclines, alkylating agents, taxanes, and antimetabolite drugs), endocrine therapies, HER2-targeted therapies (eg, trastuzumab, pertuzumab), novel emerging therapies, and radiotherapy are associated with increased incidence of many cardiovascular diseases including left ventricular dysfunction (LVD), arrhythmias, conduction abnormalities, heart failure, thrombosis, and cardiomyopathy. Another common treatment using antimetabolites has the ability to cause artery spasms and myocardial infarction.

But the most important message is that breast cancer survivors should be followed closely by a cardiologist who knows what medications and radiation their patient had for their breast cancer. Despite improvements in technology and delivery techniques, "irradiation to smaller volumes of the heart results in cardiac perfusion defects", the AHA panel stated. HER-2 is a kind of breast cancer.

It's essential for cancer patients and their clinicians to pay close attention to overall health-including heart function-before, during and after cancer treatments, she said.

More than 250,000 new cases of breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in 2017, according to the American Cancer Society, with 81 percent being diagnosed in women aged 50 and older.

Dr Tochi Okwuosa: "The problem is, if you are at risk, and not everybody is at risk, you get through treatment, you get back to your regular life and all is well until all is not well, and somebody tells you, 'You have heart failure'".

Fortunately, with the ongoing advances in cancer treatment we are seeing improved survival of cancer patients.

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