Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Many breast cancer patients don't get treatment for heart problems

Date:
June 3, 2014
Source:
American Heart Association
Summary:
About 12 percent of older breast cancer patients developed heart failure within three years, often as a result of the cancer drugs and treatments. Despite this, only a third of older breast cancer patients saw a cardiologist within 90 days of developing heart problems. Those who saw a cardiologist were more likely to receive standard drugs for heart failure than those who didn't, researchers report.

Only a third of older breast cancer patients saw a cardiologist within 90 days of developing heart problems, in a study presented at the American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes Research 2014 Scientific Sessions.

Breast cancer patients with heart problems who saw a cardiologist were more likely to receive standard therapy for their heart failure than those who did not see a heart specialist, the study found.

"The majority of older women who develop heart problems after their breast cancer therapy aren't treated by a cardiologist, and they had lower quality of care," said Jersey Chen, M.D., M.P.H., lead author of the study and a research scientist and cardiologist at Kaiser Permanente in Rockville, Maryland. "This suggests that this is an important area for oncologists and cardiologists to collaborate."

For the study, researchers used a Medicare-linked database to identify women older than 65 who were diagnosed in 2000-09 with stage I-III breast cancer and received cancer treatments that previously had been linked to heart problems.

The study tracked which patients developed cardiomyopathy or heart failure. Cardiomyopathy is a weakening of the heart and its ability to pump blood. Heart failure occurs when the weakened heart causes symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath.

Among 8,400 breast cancer patients treated with either chemotherapy drugs called anthracyclines or a targeted therapy called trastuzumab, 1,028 -- about 12 percent -- developed heart problems within three years, and 345 (34 percent) saw a cardiologist within 90 days of their heart diagnosis. Women with heart failure after cancer treatment were more likely to be treated with standard medications if seen by a cardiologist compared with those who did not see a cardiologist.

"The bottom line is, if you have breast cancer and you're treated with anthracyclines or trastuzumab, you should know they have side effects," Chen said. "And if you have symptoms of heart problems like shortness of breath or swelling in the feet or legs, seek attention quickly, preferably with doctors familiar and comfortable with treating heart failure after cancer therapy."

"Many cancer patients who develop heart failure or cardiomyopathy aren't getting the necessary medications, regardless of whether they're seen by cardiologists," he said. "So there is work to be done to improve care for all women with cardiac complications after cancer therapy."

Using 2006-11 data from Medicare's Part D drug benefit, the study found that 60 percent of patients with heart problems who saw a cardiologist received ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers, versus 44 percent of those who didn't see a cardiologist. For beta-blockers, the figures were 40 percent versus 24 percent. Those drugs are the mainstay of treatment for heart failure, Chen said.

People with other cancers -- especially if they're older or have many other health problems -- should also be vigilant for heart symptoms if they receive anthracyclines or trastuzumab, Chen said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Heart Association. "Many breast cancer patients don't get treatment for heart problems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603162128.htm>.
American Heart Association. (2014, June 3). Many breast cancer patients don't get treatment for heart problems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603162128.htm
American Heart Association. "Many breast cancer patients don't get treatment for heart problems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603162128.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins