Breast cancer survivors "face other health risks after treatment"

Breast cancer survivors

PanARMENIAN.Net - In the years following breast cancer treatment, women are at increased risk of death from other cancers, heart disease, stroke and infections, a new analysis finds, according to Reuters.

Based on U.S. data for more than 750,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer and followed for an average of 15 years, researchers found that breast cancer and other cancers are the most common cause of death for the first decade, followed by heart disease and stroke.

After 10 years, the risk of death from heart diseases remains high and is elevated compared to women in the general population, the researchers report in the journal Cancer. They urge physicians to counsel breast cancer survivors about these findings so patients can take care of their overall health.

“Survival rates for patients with breast cancer have improved significantly in the last four decades. With better survival rates, more patients are dying from non-cancer-related causes,” said study co-author Dr. Muneer Al-Husseini of Ascension St. John Hospital in Detroit, Michigan.

Breast cancer is the most common primary cancer and second most common cause of cancer-related death among women in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute.

“Non-cancer diseases, such as heart diseases, contribute to a significant number of deaths in patients with breast cancer, even higher than in the general population,” Al-Husseini told Reuters Health by email.

Another recent study published in the European Heart Journal, which looked at more than 3 million patients diagnosed with all types of cancer, also found that cancer survivors have an elevated risk of death from heart-related causes.

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