Study Finds Many Breast Cancer Patients Don’t Check Up on Their HeartsThe Breast Cancer Site
According to the American Heart Association, many breast cancer patients and survivors develop heart problems as a result of cancer treatments. This is much more common in older patients, as 12 percent of people over the age of 65 wind up with heart troubles. A new study conducted by the AHA found that despite the fact that older patients are at risk for having heart conditions, only a third of them saw a cardiologist after experiencing symptoms associated with such issues.
"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," Jersey Chen, M.D., M.P.H., lead author of the study and a research scientist and cardiologist at Kaiser Permanente in Rockville, Maryland, said in a statement. "This suggests that this is an important area for oncologists and cardiologists to collaborate."
Women who did seek the attention of a doctor were more likely than those who didn't to receive the standard medication for heart problems. The study followed women over the age of 65 who were diagnosed with stage I-III breast cancer between 2000 and 2009, and who were treated with cancer therapies previously associated with heart conditions. Of the women studied, 12 percent developed a heart condition within three years of their cancer diagnoses and only a third sought cardiological medical attention.
The study highlights the importance of observing heart health during breast cancer treatment.