KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 – More than one in 10 cancer patients succumb to heart and blood vessel problems, a new study indicated.
The European Heart Journal studied 3.23 million cancer patients and found that 38 per cent died from cancer and 11 per cent from cardiovascular diseases (CVD), of which, three-quarters were from heart disease.
The study also found that the proportion of cancer survivors dying from CVD was highest in those with disease of the bladder, larynx, prostate, womb, bowel and breast.
“Increasing awareness of this risk may spur cancer survivors to implement healthy lifestyle behaviours that not only decrease their risk of cardiovascular disease, but also the risk of cancer recurrence,” said Dr Nicholas Zaorsky, a radiation oncologist, from Penn State Cancer Institute, who led the study, according to the BBC.
Researchers also added that the increase in the numbers surviving cancer means more attention should be focused on cardiovascular risk.
“Doctors should be aware of this research as it suggests cancer patients need to be monitored more closely after treatment, for heart disease and stroke,” said Martin Ledwick, head cancer information nurse at Cancer Research UK.
“But it doesn’t tell us why some cancer patients may be at higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
“For some, it might be treatment-related – radiotherapy to the chest and some chemotherapy drugs can lead to a higher risk of heart disease.”
Separately, Prof Metin Avkiran, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, reportedly said the study also showed that compared with the general population, cancer survivors are at a much greater risk of death from heart and circulatory diseases.
“We need more research to understand why this is, and whether factors other than the known damaging effects of some anti-cancer treatments on the heart and blood vessels are at play.”