People who survive cancer may be at heightened risk of cardiovascular disease in subsequent years, data suggests.
However, heart scans may identify early heart damage, potentially opening the door to more tailored follow-up care for cancer survivors.
Although previous studies have suggested that people who have been treated for cancer may be at greater risk of future cardiovascular problems such as stroke or heart failure, these have mainly focused on the first year after a cancer diagnosis. Few have looked at longer term risks or included cardiovascular imaging to pinpoint damage that has not yet resulted in symptoms.
To plug these gaps, Dr Zahra Raisi-Estabragh at Queen Mary University of London and her colleagues assessed the cardiovascular health of 18,714 UK Biobank participants with a previous diagnosis of lung, breast, prostate, blood, womb or bowel cancer, and compared them with an equal number of participants with no cancer history, tracking their cardiovascular health for nearly 12 years.
Almost a third of cancer survivors developed a cardiovascular problem during the study period, compared with a quarter of people in the control group.
“This study adds to existing knowledge about the impact of some cancer treatments on cardiovascular disease in cancer survivors,” said Martin Ledwick, the head information nurse at Cancer Research UK.
“It may help to inform strategies for how some cancer survivors need to be monitored long-term, especially in situations where they have been discharged from cancer follow-up to the care of their GPs.”
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Source: The Guardian, 18 April 2023