Interactive tool 'boosts knowledge of breast cancer treatment options'

Study highlights the intersection of Heart Disease and Breast Cancer

"Adriamycin-induced congestive heart failure symptoms can show up three to five years after treatment and easily be missed by an internist or ER doctor who does not see a lot of these patients", he said.

The latest figures from 2015 show there were 11,819 deaths from prostate cancer compared with 11,442 from breast cancer. However, more women think breast cancer is the bigger threat. It noted that breast cancer survivors who are 65 and older and were treated for their cancer are more likely to die of cardiovascular problems than breast cancer. CVD poses a greater mortality risk for older women than breast cancer.

"The statement really is there to provide a concise document for the medical community on the overlap between heart disease and breast cancer in terms of risk factors, in terms of the treatment and preventative therapies", she said.

Laxmi Mehta, a cardiologist at The Ohio State University who led the writing of the report, said she didn't want to deter women from getting effective therapies. "But it's important for people to know that the heart needs to be taken care of before, during and after treatment".

She highly recommended talking to your doctor before undergoing treatment. Among older women, it even kills more who have been diagnosed with localized (not advanced) breast cancer: The long-running Women's Health Initiative reported last year that among women in their 70s with localized breast cancer, over a 10-year period 17 percent died from breast cancer and 22 percent from cardiovascular disease. Healthcare providers should monitor a woman's heart health before, during and after breast cancer treatment.

The charity stressed that the increase in the number of men dying from prostate cancer is largely because of the ageing population, and does not depict a worsening situation for patients; men diagnosed now with the disease are 2.5 times more likely to live for ten years or more than if they were diagnosed in 1990.

"The intent of the paper is certainly not to say don't treat breast cancer", Mehta said. "I have sent patients to transplant".

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Angela Culhane, chief executive of the charity Prostate Cancer UK, said the disease now received half the funding and half the research that is devoted to breast cancer. As a result, early development of heart failure can indicate the need to either slow a patient's treatment, or change to a different therapy to reduce the risk for worsening the condition or the development of permanent heart failure.

"I was just lucky - right place, right time", he said. Beginning in the 1980s and 1990s, most children with the blood cancer were cured by aggressive treatment that involved chemo and sometimes radiation.

Dr Tochi Okwuosa: "The problem is, if you are at risk, and not everybody is at risk, you get through treatment, you get back to your regular life and all is well until all is not well, and somebody tells you, 'You have heart failure'".

The pediatric oncologists "tapped us on the shoulder and said, 'You need to look at this, ' " Steingart said.

Women with breast cancer typically get some combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, depending on the stage of their cancer. Doxorubicin is a chemotherapy drug used in breast cancer therapy that can lead to the damage of heart cells. And radiation can lead to valve damage and artery blockages.

It has been known for years that some breast cancer drugs (including some also used for other cancers) can weaken the heart muscle, causing heart failure.


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