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Some Breast Cancer Therapies Linked to Heart Disease Risk


By Alanna McCatty

February 6, 2018

Some Breast Cancer Therapies Linked to Heart Disease Risk

Some breast cancer treatments may increase your risk of heart disease, according to a scientific statement issued by the American Heart Association.

The group is suggesting that breast cancer patients and their doctors discuss the benefits and potential harms associated with specific breast cancer treatments before moving forward with the therapy.

For instance, some cancer patients who receive targeted therapy for HER2 breast cancer may experience heart failure. Another example includes radiation therapy, which can damage the heart arteries and cause coronary artery disease or blockages.

Laxmi Mehta, MD, chair of the writing group for the new statement, said, “Any patient who is going to undergo breast cancer treatment, whether they have heart disease at the beginning or not, should be aware of the potential effects of the treatments on their heart.”

Mehta went on to explain that the news should not dissuade or frighten breast cancer patients from receiving the proper breast cancer treatment, but should rather encourage them to weigh all of the pros and cons associated with specific breast cancer treatments.

“Fortunately, with the advances in breast cancer treatment, there has been a growing number of survivors. However, during and after the treatment of breast cancer, having optimal control of heart disease risk factors is important, because older breast cancer survivors are more likely to die of heart disease than breast cancer,” Dr. Mehta said.

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Last updated: February 6, 2018