Many breast cancer therapies cause damage to the heart. However, in the largest study of its kind so far, scientists have now shown that the risk of death from heart disease in breast cancer patients following radiotherapy or chemotherapy is no higher than it is among the average population. in the largest study of its kind so far, scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg have now shown that the risk of death from heart disease in breast cancer patients following radiotherapy or chemotherapy is no higher than it is among the average population. Good risk management in the hospitals as well as control screenings at short intervals seem to make up for elevated risks.
Breast cancer is the second most frequent cancer worldwide and the most common cancer in women. However, improved screening measures and more effective treatment methods have considerably lowered the risk of succumbing to the disease. A number of clinical trials suggested that both chemotherapy and radiotherapy are associated with the risk of suffering heart disease as a consequence of treatment. Little has been known so far about the risks of dying from these side effect-related diseases of the heart.
Good risk management in the hospitals, for example by special cardio-oncology units. In this approach, a patient’s individual risk of suffering heart disease due to breast cancer treatment will be taken into account already when choosing the adequate therapy. Additionally, controls conducted at short intervals in the course of treatment facilitate detecting any side effects on the heart as soon as possible, making appropriate adjustments to oncologic therapy and treating a possible heart disease quickly.
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