More than one in 10 cancer patients die from heart and blood vessel problems, rather than their initial illness, a study says.
The European Heart Journal looked at three million US patients, with 28 different cancers, over 40 years.
The researchers say the increase in the numbers surviving cancer means more attention should be focused on cardiovascular risk.
UK experts say doctors should be more aware and monitor patients accordingly.
Among the 3.23 million cancer patients studied, 38% died from cancer and 11% from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) – of which, three-quarters were from heart disease.
The proportion of cancer survivors dying from CVD was highest in those with disease of the bladder, larynx, prostate, womb, bowel and breast.
The risk in the first year could be explained by the effects of chemotherapy or radiation treatment on people’s bodies.
But rates continued to be higher than those in the general population. The study said cancer patients were “perpetually at elevated risk”.
Dr Nicholas Zaorsky, a radiation oncologist, from Penn State Cancer Institute, who led the study, said knowing about the risk could help patients live more healthily in the long term.
“Increasing awareness of this risk may spur cancer survivors to implement healthy lifestyle behaviours that not only decrease their risk of cardiovascular disease, but also the risk of cancer recurrence.”
Martin Ledwick, head cancer information nurse at Cancer Research UK, said: “Doctors should be aware of this research as it suggests cancer patients need to be monitored more closely after treatment, for heart disease and stroke.
“But it doesn’t tell us why some cancer patients may be at higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
“For some, it might be treatment-related – radiotherapy to the chest and some chemotherapy drugs can lead to a higher risk of heart disease.
“But some of the cancers included in the study share lifestyle risk factors with cardiovascular disease – for example, obesity and smoking, which might also explain the increased risk.
“This is another reason why it’s important for everyone to have a healthy lifestyle.”
Prof Metin Avkiran, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said the study offered further evidence that, compared with the general population, cancer survivors are at much greater risk of death from heart and circulatory diseases.
He added: “We need more research to understand why this is, and whether factors other than the known damaging effects of some anti-cancer treatments on the heart and blood vessels are at play.
“What is becoming increasingly clear is that cancer doctors and cardiologists need to work together from an early stage to try and minimise the risk of patients surviving cancer but succumbing to heart and circulatory diseases.”
- Blunt and Blay: Real reason why the Church won’t allow a Muslim student to fast in a ‘Mission School’
- #FixTheCountry: How an IGP meet-up turned into a ‘Cabinet Meeting’, without the IGP – Convenor reveals
- National security cloned #FixTheCountry protester’s mobile phone – Barker-Vormawor alleges
- #FixTheCountry organisers exhibited ‘bad faith’ during National Security meeting – Godfred Dame
- Akufo-Addo has not lived up to expectation – Kofi Bentil
- I have no regrets participating in ‘OccupyFlagstaffHouse’ protest – Kofi Bentil
- Playback: Newsfile discusses #FixTheCountry brouhaha; Muslim students not allowed to fast in public Christian school
- We tried to have children for about 10 years – Ebo Whyte’s wife recounts
- Vehicle towing cost to be borne by insurance industry – NIC Commissioner
- It’ll take time for government to get economy back on track – Kojo Oppong Nkrumah
Gunmen kill seven police officers in Nigeria
China rocket debris ‘disintegrates over Indian Ocean’
Livestream: Church service with Pastor Mensa Otabil
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez v Billy Joe Saunders: Mexican wins with eighth-round stoppage
Benjamin Azamati qualifies for Tokyo Olympics 200m event
Ghana recorded 10,684 newborn jaundice cases in 2020
Takoradi Technical University establishes Cyber-security Centre
Covid-19 remains a threat to national security – Interior Minister
Armed robber nabbed in Tema
Driver arrested for robbery at Gindabor, 5 others on the run in Savannah Region
We tried to have children for about 10 years – Ebo Whyte’s wife recounts
Teachers call for improved working conditions
Aguero misses penalty as Chelsea’s win makes Man City wait for title
Bayern celebrate winning ninth straight Bundesliga title with 6-0 victory
Atletico stay top after draw at Barca