Cancer survivors could be six times more likely to die from heart disease, new study suggests

08:54 (GMT+2) Mon, 25 Nov 2019

Cancer survivors could be up to six times more likely to die from heart disease.

A US study of more than 3million patients found 11 per cent of survivors died not from returning cancer but from stroke, heart disease and related cardiovascular events.

On average, those who had had cancer were two to six times more likely to die from heart problems than those in the general population. 

For those diagnosed with cancer before the age of 55, their risk was ten times higher.

 

 

 A US study of more than 3million patients found 11 per cent of cancer survivors died not from returning cancer but from stroke, heart disease and related cardiovascular events (stock image) 

  

A US study of more than 3million patients found 11 per cent of cancer survivors died not from returning cancer but from stroke, heart disease and related cardiovascular events (stock image)


Penn State College of Medicine’s Dr Nicholas Zaorsky, the study’s author, said that as more people survive cancer they may be at risk from other conditions instead.

His study, published in the European Heart Journal, did not examine whether cancer drugs may be to blame by damaging heart cells.


Dr Zaorsky said: ‘We have to be aware that more people are surviving cancer, so may be at risk from other medical conditions.

‘For younger cancer patients particularly, the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease is higher than the risk for the general population who have not had cancer.

 

 

 On average, those who had had cancer were two to six times more likely to die from heart problems than those in the general population (stock image)

On average, those who had had cancer were two to six times more likely to die from heart problems than those in the general population (stock image)


‘It means that doctors should be monitoring these people closely and perhaps referring them to cardiologists, because their risk is higher after cancer for the rest of their lives.’

Almost half of the cancer patients in the 42-year study died, with 38 per cent killed by cancer and 11.3 per cent by cardiovascular disease.

People with genital cancers, bladder, prostate, testicular, thyroid and endometrial cancers, as well as Hodgkin’s lymphoma, had greater death rates from cardiovascular disease than cancer during at least one year between 1973 and 2012.

For younger people, diagnosed with cancer before the age of 55, their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease was 10 times higher than that of people without cancer.

That is likely to be due to drugs used in chemotherapy, which can damage the heart.

 

 

 Penn State College of Medicine’s Dr Nicholas Zaorsky, the study’s author, said that as more people survive cancer they may be at risk from other conditions instead (stock image)

Penn State College of Medicine’s Dr Nicholas Zaorsky, the study’s author, said that as more people survive cancer they may be at risk from other conditions instead (stock image)


The risk reduces over time, with cancer survivors aged 75 to 84 having a risk of death from cardiovascular disease only 2.4 times higher than the general population at their age.

But that is probably because even people who have never had cancer have a much higher risk of cardiovascular disease in later years because of their age.

The people in the study died from heart disease in more than three-quarters of cases, and also from stroke and aortic aneurysm. In rare cases among those looked at by researchers, high blood pressure or hardened arteries were given among the causes of death.

By Victoria Allen Science Correspondent For The Daily Mail 

 Published:   |  Updated:  




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