Radiation for Breast Cancer Tied Up With Increase Heart Risk

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With the steady number of individuals who are developing cancer, many researchers are continuing to conduct further studies in order to identify certain risk factors which may be contributory to the initiation of the cancer. Although there are already many risk factors that has been identified which include lifestyle factors, environmental factors and hereditary, still the major cause of the disease is left unknown and is left hanging. Hence, this serves as a challenge to the experts to make ways on how to protect the general population with this disease. On of the most common cancer among the women is breast cancer. Certain treatment modalities which help to prevent the spread of cancer have been established such as the radiation therapy. However, certain studies have been established to associate these treatment modalities to some health risks.

In fact, according to a new Swedish study, which was published in the online edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, those women who had breast cancer in their left breast and underwent radiation therapy had increase in the health risks which involve the heart.

The new study involved the analysis and examination of data gathered from about 8,190 women who were diagnosed of having breast cancer back in the year 1970 to 2003. Researchers discovered that out of these study participants, about 199 of them actually underwent into coronary angiography. This means that these women who underwent the said medical procedure had problems that indicate coronary heart disease (CAD).

Moreover, the researchers included in their analysis the comparison of the severity of blockage of those women who underwent radiation therapy in their left breast versus those women with breast cancer in their right breast. Researchers found out that the severity of the blockage of vessels were significantly increased among those women who had breast cancer in their left breast and were treated with radiation therapy. Specifically, grade 3 to grad 5 stenosis which means moderate blockage to full blockage of the vessels among those women who had radiation therapy in the right breast was 4.38 times higher as compared to other women.

As according to study authors led by Dr. Greger Nilsson, of the department of oncology, radiology and clinical immunology at Uppsala University Hospital, they wrote: “we suggest that the coronary arteries be regarded as organs at risk in radiation therapy, and that every effort be made to avoid radiation dose to the coronary arteries.”





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