Cancer and Heart Disease

The treatment of cancer can trigger cardiac problems.

Cancer treatments can be life-saving. But some treatments can also have a significant impact on your heart. Many cancer patients, due to age, may already have heart disease when they are diagnosed. Others may develop heart problems because of the drugs they are taking for their cancer treatment. Chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapies can lead to a weakening of the heart muscle, heart attacks or rhythm problems. These conditions can occur within days, months or even years after cancer treatment, reducing your quality of life and increasing the risk of death from cardiac-related causes.

If your doctor is considering a cancer therapy that may affect your heart, your heart should be evaluated first.

If you have cancer and heart disease, it’s important to work with your oncologist and cardiologist to protect your heart and manage your vulnerability to the cardiac effects of cancer treatment. Any pre-existing heart disease must be addressed before chemotherapy begins, because a healthy heart can handle aggressive cancer therapies better than a diseased heart. The best way to manage your risk of heart disease and cancer is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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