About 35 per cent of Americans with a cancer history had an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease in the next decade, compared with about 23 per cent of those who didn’t have cancer, a new study suggests.
Based on a risk calculator that estimates a person’s 10-year chances of developing heart disease or stroke, researchers found that the average estimated 10-year risk for a cancer survivor was about 8 per cent, compared to 5 per cent for those who didn’t have a history of cancer.
“We know that obesity, cancer and cardiovascular disease share some common risk factors, and in addition to those shared risk factors, cancer patients also receive treatments including radiation and chemotherapy that can affect their cardiovascular health — we call that cardiotoxicity,” said lead researcher Xiaochen Zhang from The Ohio State University.
But those risks may be underestimated or poorly understood, leading Zhang and fellow researchers to urge steps to boost recognition among health care providers and their patients, the team said.
For the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, the team examined data provided by 15,095 adults aged 40 to 79 years with no history of cardiovascular disease. Almost 13 per cent reported a history of cancer.
The data used in the study comes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The nationally representative sample of people surveyed from 2007 to 2016 should provide a good picture of the elevated risk for cancer survivors in the US, the researchers said.
One of the strengths of this research is the large study size, which allowed for analysis based on type of cancer and by age group, the researchers said.
Survivors of testicular, prostate, bladder and kidney cancers had particularly high 10-year cardiovascular disease risk, as did those in their 60s, they added.