Breast Cancer Treatments Raise Heart Risks

American Heart Association published a scientific statement in the journal Circulation, warns the breast cancer patients may be at an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and could benefit from discussing those risks with their doctors.

Globally, breast cancer is the top cancer impacting women’s health. Heart disease is another leading cause of death in the United States. According to the statement, for older women, cardiovascular disease poses a greater mortality threat than breast cancer itself.

Breast cancer and cardiovascular disease share a group of risk factors, including obesity and age.

Furthermore, radiation and chemotherapies can pose a risk to cardiovascular health. A 2013 study shows that exposing the heart to radiation during radiotherapy could increase the risk of heart disease in breast cancer patients’ later life. The study also found that women had radiotherapy on the left breast had higher major coronary diseases risks than those had on the right breast.

The commonly used drug during a chemotherapy have shown an effect of weakening heart muscle and leading to heart failure. The mentioned chemo drugs include Adriamycin, doxorubicin, trastuzumab, Herceptin, Anthracyclines.  It’s also found that single drug chemo causes lower heart dysfunction risks than combining drug treatment.

Women who had such treatment are recommended to maintain a healthy lifestyle and treat cardiovascular risk factors aggressively, in order to prevent heart attack and stroke.

Jul 18,2019

Chemotherapy drugs anthracyclines and trastuzumab are quite effective in treating breast cancer,however both of them can cause heart dysfunction and lead to heart failure.

Not everyone that has received treatment of anthracyclines and trastuzumab develops heart dysfunction, currently, there’s no effective way to predict which patient will develop it and which patient will not.

A team of researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) embarked on a study to measure the patients’ energy-related metabolites by using blood samples. They’ve found that levels of citric acid increased over time in patients who did not develop heart toxicity, but they remained the same or decreased in patients who did develop heart toxicity.

The researchers hope these findings will ultimately lead to the development of biomarkers that could be used to determine which patients are at the highest risk of developing chemotherapy-related heart toxicity

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.