Cardiovascular risk a gap in survivorship care

Kathy LaTour blog image

It's hard to imagine that someone who has been through cancer would have to worry about dying of cardiac disease, but according to a new study, long-term cancer survivors have more risk factors for cardiovascular disease than those who have not had cancer.

The 1,582 survivors of breast, prostate, colorectal and gynecologic cancers who were studied came from two California cancer registries who were recruited from four to 14 years past treatment.

Once accepted into the study, the survivors were sent a survey that asked them to self report about a number of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, including smoking, body mass index, physical inactivity, cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. It also asked whether the survivor had discussed these factors and living a healthier lifestyle with their health care providers.

The results are rather astounding. Except for smoking, risk factors for cardiovascular disease were more common among survivors than the general public: 62 percent were overweight or obese, 55 percent had hypertension, 20 percent were diabetic, and 18 percent described themselves as inactive. Five percent said they smoked. Hispanic and African-American survivors had a greater number of CVD risk factors, particularly obesity and diabetes.

One third said they had not discussed their cardiovascular factors with their physicians.

This study points again to the importance of primary care physicians understanding the cancer history of their patients, and cancer patients understanding their susceptibility to cardiovascular disease.

We continue to focus on the need for patients to leave treatment with the understanding that their lives will be different because of their cancer therapy, particularly if they have had radiation and chemotherapy, both of which can impact their heart.

Take charge of your future. Get a survivorship care plan for your future. Stop smoking, start moving and begin eating for your health. You have a number of years ahead of you if you do.

You can read more from my CURE article on the subject: "Planning for Cancer Survivorship."

Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the General Discussions CURE discussion group.
Special Feature
Share Your Art
Related Articles
BRCA Mutations May Cause Drug Resistance in Breast and Ovarian Cancer
There is a relationship between the genetics of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations and the risk of a patient with breast or ovarian cancer being resistant to platinum-based chemotherapy, according to recent research conducted at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The study’s senior author Katherine Nathanson, M.D., spoke with CURE about these findings.
Sarah Sciortino on Fertility and Sexuality in Younger Patients with Ovarian Cancer
Sarah Sciortino, MSW, LSW, Oncology Psychosocial Support Services Program Coordinator at University of Chicago Hospital, discusses the unique concerns that younger patients with ovarian cancer can face.
Caring With Confidence: Study Examines Caregiver Mastery and Patient Survival in GBM
A recent study found that the level of family caregiver mastery may have an effect on the survival of patients with glioblastoma.
Related Videos
Examining Quality of Life Issues for Patients With MPNs
Sandra Allen-Bard, MSN, ANCC, AOCNP, of Weill Cornell Medical Center, discusses the impact myeloproliferative neoplasms can have on patients' quality of life.
Elliott Winton on the Changing Landscape of MPN Treatment
Elliott Winton, M.D., researcher, physician and 2016 MPN Hero, discusses some of the drastic changes that happened over the past decade or so in the world of MPNs. 
Siddhartha Mukherjee on Increasing MPN Awareness
Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D., Ph.D, an oncologist, researcher and Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer, discusses the increasing awareness about myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs).
//For side ad protocol