Most studies of this survivor group have focused on heart failure related to anthracyclines, a class of chemotherapy medications used to treat many types of cancer. In this new study, researchers used data from Ontario's health care system to investigate the full spectrum of heart disease subtypes in close to 7,300 childhood cancer survivors (diagnosed at an average age of 7) -- compared to more than 36,000 people of the same age, gender and postal code without cancer. Heart disease studied included coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, valve abnormalities, cardiomyopathy, heart failure and pericardial disease.
Researchers found that, even at relatively young ages, childhood cancer survivors have up to a threefold increase for any cardiac event and up to a tenfold increased risk for heart failure when compared to their cancer-free peers. Additionally, survivors exposed to higher doses of anthracycline chemotherapy, as well as those diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension or both, are significantly more likely to experience heart disease as adults.
Chemotherapy - Heart - Disease - Patients - Cancer
"While anthracycline chemotherapy may induce heart disease, many patients require this cancer treatment to survive," said Paul Nathan, M.D., M.Sc., senior author of the study and staff oncologist in the division of hematology/oncology and senior associate scientist in the Child Health Evaluative Sciences program at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Canada.
"Doctors should address heart disease risk factors -- such as diabetes and hypertension -- that can be modified," said Nathan, who...
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