Breast cancer and lymphoma treatments save lives, but may make heart failure more likely for some

WASHINGTON (Feb. 28, 2018) – Patients with a history of breast cancer or lymphoma were more than three times as likely to develop heart failure — a condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs–compared with a similar group of patients who did not have cancer, according to data being presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 67th Annual Scientific Session.

A team of researchers at Mayo Clinic found the elevated risk of heart failure occurred as early as one year after cancer diagnosis and persisted 20 years after patients completed cancer therapy. Among those with cancer, having diabetes or receiving high doses of doxorubicin–a type of chemotherapy–were found to be especially risky for future heart health.

The study, part of Mayo Clinic’s Rochester Epidemiological Project, is one of the the first to the researchers’ knowledge to directly compare the rate of heart failure in cancer versus non-cancer patients who were well-matched for age, gender and heart disease risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Researchers tracked heart failure cases in 1,550 people without cancer and in 900 breast cancer and lymphoma patients in Olmsted County, Minnesota, from 1985 to 2010.


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