People treated for breast cancer or lymphoma – cancer of the lymphatic system – in the past are more than three times more likely to experience congestive heart failure (CHF), according to researchers from the Mayo Clinic. Heart failure occurs when the organ is unable to pump blood through the body as well as it should.
For this study, researchers used data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project involving 900 breast cancer and lymphoma survivors and 1.550 patients without a history of cancer. Study participants were matched for age, gender, and heart disease risk factors like diabetes and high blood pressure.
The researchers tracked heart failure cases from 1985 to 2010, focusing on patients who had likely been treated with a chemotherapy drug called anthracycline (doxorubicin), which can cause heart damage by changing DNA in the heart muscle. They discovered about 7 out of every 100 cancer patients developed heart failure during the average 8.5-year follow-up. This research will be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 67th Annual Scientific Session later this month.