In a new study, researchers have found that many people with cancer patients are more likely to die from heart and blood vessel problems rather than the primary disease.
More than that, for cancers like those affecting the breasts, prostate, endometrial, and thyroid, about half of the patients will die from cardiovascular diseases (CVD), according to the study published in the European Heart Journal.
For the study, researchers compared the US general population with more than 3,200,000 American patients who were diagnosed with cancer between 1973 and 2012.
They used information contained in the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database to look at deaths from CVD, which included heart disease, high blood pressure, cerebrovascular disease, blocked arteries and damage to the aorta – the main artery carrying blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
They adjusted their analyses to take account of factors that could affect the results, such as age, race, and sex, and looked pointedly at 28 types of cancer.
Among the 3,234,256 cancer patients, 38 per cent (1,228,328) died from cancer and 11 per cent (365,689) died from CVDs. Among the deaths from CVD, 76 percent were due to heart disease, and the risk of dying from CVD was highest in the first year after a cancer diagnosis and among patients younger than 35 years.
The majority of CVD deaths occurred in patients with cancers of the breast (a total of 60,409 patients) and prostate (84,534 patients), as these are among the most common diseases to be diagnosed.
In 2012, 61 percent of all cancer patients who died from CVD were diagnosed with breast, prostate, or bladder cancer.
The proportion of cancer survivors dying from CVD was highest in the bladder (19 percent of patients), larynx (17 percent), prostate (17 percent), womb (16 percent), bowel (14 percent) and breast (12 percent) cancers.
Patients who were more likely to die from cancer than from CVD were those with the most aggressive and hard-to-treat cancers, such as cancer of the lung, liver, brain, stomach, gallbladder, pancreas, esophagus, ovary and multiple myeloma.
Dr. Kathleen Sturgeon, assistant professor in public health sciences at Penn State Cancer Institute, Hershey, Pennsylvania said: “These findings show that a large proportion of certain cancer patients will die of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, stroke, aneurysm, high blood pressure and damage to blood vessels.”
Sturgeon continued, “We also found that the risk of heart death among survivors with any cancer before the age of 55 was more than ten times that of the general population.
“The risk of death from heart diseases is many times that of the general population in the first year of diagnosis; the researcher continued, many times, this risk is reduced, but for most, this risk increases as survivors Is, which is followed for ten years or more.
Dr Nicholas Zaorsky, a radiation oncologist at Penn State College of Medicine stated the reason why cancer patients were more at risk of dying from cardiovascular disease within the first year of diagnosis might be because when they entered the hospital system, other illnesses and problems, such as heart disease, lung dysfunction, and kidney failure were also detected.
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