Interactive tool 'boosts knowledge of breast cancer treatment options'

05 February, 2018, 06:35 | Author: Otis Hoffman
  • Breast-cancer-treatment-increase-heart-disease-risks

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and treating cardiovascular risk factors aggressively can help prevent heart attack, stroke and disability, said Kuller, who also has studied cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.

"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", said Laxmi Mehta, M.D.

During cancer treatments, patients should pay attention not only to their breast health, but also to their general health, including their heart, said Dr. Mehta, who is director of the Women's Cardiovascular Health Program and an associate professor of medicine at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. "Treatment-related mortality [from heart disease] is not reliably captured in breast-cancer mortality", said Dr. H. Gilbert Welch of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

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.

The good news is that more and more women are beating breast cancer, according to Mehta.

Prostate Cancer UK chief executive Angela Culhane said: "It's incredibly encouraging to see the tremendous progress that has been made in breast cancer over recent years".

The AHA warning, published in Circulation, suggests breast cancer and heart problems are, in many ways, intertwined.

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"We assess the factors that are really important to patients, such as keeping their natural breast or avoiding radiation, and then we use that to generate a quantitative mapping of how those values relate to the treatments that they might be considering, and then show them visually", adds Hawley. She says oncologists and cardiologists need to work together closely to give patients the best chance against both diseases. And it called on cancer doctors to weigh the benefits of those treatments against the heart risks they pose.

"Some of the medications that are being used to treat breast cancer can ultimately end in cardiac disease", she said.

In the U.S. and the United Kingdom, about 12% of women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetimes, according to the National Cancer Institute and the organization Cancer Research UK. Both can weaken the heart muscle.

African-American men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer; Asian-American and Hispanic/Latino men are less likely to develop the disease. HER-2 targeted therapies, for example, are created to combat more aggressive breast cancers, but can disrupt heart function as a result.

While it's not a symptoms of the cancer itself, it could be a sign of the disease: frequent peeing at night is linked to a possible tumour causing the prostate gland to swell.

"Oncologists are doing a terrific job of increasing survival rates by advancing the science and improving cancer treatments".

Those types of symptoms may or may not be concerning on their own, she said.

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