Take Steps to Protect Your Heart During Cancer Treatment

Women with breast cancer are especially at risk, but there are things you can do to minimize the cardiovascular threat.

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Deaths from breast cancer have decreased by 24 percent, largely due to more effective treatments. But success has come at a high price: Many women are surviving breast cancer, only to develop severe coronary artery disease leading to early heart failure. Thats because the same treatments that can cure one disease may cause the other. While most cancer treatments are cardiotoxic to some extent, its not possible to predict which patients will be adversely affected. "We advise that all women undergo a thorough cardiac evaluation that includes a multiple-uptake gaited acquisition (MUGA) scan before starting cancer treatment," says Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Leslie Cho, MD. "If they have risk factors that increase their risk of cardiovascular disease, such as obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension or diabetes, they should begin risk factor modification to bring these under control."
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