Cancer patients unaware that cancer treatments cause heart damage
Research presented at EuroHeartCare 2019 clearly shows that cancer patients who receive conventional treatments such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy are at high risk for heart problems like heat failures years or even decades after treatments.
Researchers from Flinders University in Adelaide Australia found that few cancer patients were aware of the elevated risk of heart conditions induced by cancer treatments because their doctors never tell them about the risk.
“Depending on the type of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, between 1% and 25% [of] cancer patients may develop heart failure due to cancer treatment,” Prof. Robyn Clark, a study author, was cited as saying.
“Risk also depends on cardiovascular risk factors, such as smoking and obesity. Better monitoring of the heart and intervention before, during, and after treatment can prevent or lessen the impact of this cardiotoxicity,” she added.
The researchers say that cancer patients do not experience heart problems immediately after cancer treatments. For instance, heart failure could strike cancer patients up to 20 years after cancer treatments.
For the study, Professor Clark and colleagues looked at the medical records of 46 cancer patients who received cancer treatments at one of the three hospitals between 1979 and 2015. All these patients suffered cardiotoxicity, meaning some damage to the heart muscle.
Out of these 46 patients, only 11% or 5 patients had received a referral to a cardiologic specialist before beginning chemotherapy, and doctors had referred only 48% of them to a heart failure clinic during or after cancer treatment.
Heart risk from cancer treatments is not news. But it is news that cancer doctors do not want to let their patients know the adverse effect of the treatments on their hearts. The heart risk from cancer treatments have been known for a long time. (Dr. Lu)