Medical

Breast Cancer Treatments May Increase Heart Disease

Breast Cancer Treatments May Increase Heart Disease

According to the charity, the number of women dying from breast cancer has been steadily decreasing since 1999, but the same downward death trend has not been observed for prostate cancer.

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.

Cardiovascular disease and breast cancer already have several overlapping risk factors, such as age and obesity, and current lifesaving breast cancer treatments could have negative impacts on heart health, according to the statement. Additionally, the drug dexrazoxane is approved for minimizing heart damage in patients with metastatic breast cancer treated with high doses of doxorubicin.

With earlier detection and improved treatments, long-term survival among women who develop breast cancer is good.

"It's not such a surprise, because obviously the population is aging and, hence, there will be more prostate cancer", Van Hemelrijck said.

"I don't want those patients to think they should not do chemo, because then they will be more likely to die of disease", she said.

After skin cancer, it's the most common cancer in women. That's because the risk of developing a heart problem is lifelong with some of the treatments.

Women with breast cancer typically get some combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, depending on the stage of their cancer. And only one per cent of pancreatic cancer patients survive their disease for ten years or more.

Phil, who is now cancer-free, described one symptom as needing the toilet more frequently throughout the night.

Some heart effects, such as those from chest radiation, may not show up until years later.

Culhane added that compared with breast cancer, prostate cancer has had half the investment and half the research, making it unsurprising that progress here is lagging.

Other treatments, such as radiotherapy, can damage the arteries of the heart, causing coronary heart disease and blockage in the bloodstream. Both can weaken the heart muscle.

Some breast therapies can damage the heart, the American Heart Association has warned.

"Adriamycin, or doxorubicin, and trastuzumab, or Herceptin, are the big causes of heart failure", Brawley said.

"Knowledge about the risks and benefits of different treatment options remains pretty low, even among patients who have received treatment", says Sarah Hawley, professor of internal medicine at Michigan Medicine.

However, experts don't encourage breast cancer patients to refuse recommended treatment.

She needed a stent to open her blocked artery, which was likely caused by her cancer treatment. That's why the America Heart Association has published the first scientific statement about these two major threats to women's health.

Studies have shown that hormone replacement therapy - a medical treatment used to relieve women from menopausal symptoms - is also a risk factor for both breast cancer and heart disease.