Women with breast cancer face increased risk for cardiovascular disease due, in part, to cardiotoxic effects of some breast cancer treatments, according to a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Also at play are overlapping risk factors for both breast cancer and CVD, including smoking, obesity, and a Western diet.
The statement, published in Circulation, outlines which breast cancer treatments increase CVD risk — for example, anthracyclines and HER-2-directed therapies are associated with left ventricular dysfunction and heart failure, while radiation increases risk for coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathy. The authors offer advice on monitoring for early cardiotoxicity and, if needed, considering regimen changes.
“This [information] should not deter or scare patients from undergoing breast cancer treatment, but should allow them to make informed decisions with their doctor on the best cancer treatment for them,” said the chair of the statement’s writing committee in an AHA news release.