Breast Cancer Awareness Calls for Cardiovascular Awareness
Women who overcome breast cancer have every reason to celebrate. But a heart filled with joy may also be a heart damaged by life-saving cancer therapies, a growing body of research shows.
"Most breast cancer therapies today - including new treatments still under development - increase long-term risk of cardiovascular disease," said Lee W. Jones, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist and assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC. "We don't know exactly how large the added risk is, but we believe it's substantial. Recent gains in breast-cancer-specific survival could be markedly diminished by an increase in the long-term risk of cardiovascular death."
In an article published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Jones and his colleagues call for taking the long view in breast cancer therapy-focusing not just on the immediate cancer threat but also on long-term cardiovascular health.
"There are millions of American women living with breast cancer," said Pamela S. Douglas, M.D., chief of cardiology at Duke and a co-author of the JACC paper. "It's important that they don't squander their second lease on life."