It’s a hot topic issue, and touches on two big areas of concern for both women and cancer patients in general. As it turns out there is a new link between a common breast cancer treatment and heart disease risk in women. For now, researchers are trying to flesh out the issues surrounding this new area of concern for a population of women who had a lot to worry about already…
As most women know, when it comes to the treatment of breast cancer, treatment options come with certain risk factors. But what many women might not have been aware of, and up until recently researchers were oblivious to the idea of heart damage, as well. The risk factors might be slight, but are being brought to the forefront nonetheless.
The breast cancer numbers are staggering – in fact, about one out of every eight women will be diagnosed with this type of cancer in her lifetime. And as is common knowledge, radiation tends to be the most popular go-to treatment option for breast cancer as it has traditionally has been an aggressive, and successfully proven method of dealing with cancer of the breast.
Radiation, as a rule tends to cause a type of damage to the inner lining of the vessels of the breast that trigger off the process of inflammation. This is a concern to cancer researchers and healthcare professionals because of the fact that this inflammation becomes the precursor to potential problems down the road. So attacking one problem, could potentially lead to triggering a whole other set of issues.
One study that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine confirms that inflammation as a result of radiation is a real cause for concern in this population of women. The researchers looks at data that went back all the way to 1958 and notices some scary trends. The authors of the study confirmed something that was long suspected, but this time confirmed….the risk of developing heart disease as a result of radiation (or the inflammation caused by said radiation) was somewhat low, but still made the scale enough that women need to be made well aware of the risks.
Healthcare practitioners tend to use the rule of thumb that less is more when it comes to radiation, and the standard is in place that while beneficial to the breast cancer patient, using a small amount of radiation is better. However, the authors of this study found a small glitch in even the plans to use small amounts of radiation treatment. When it comes to cancer of the left breast, which is closer to the heart, the risk of inflammation leading to heart problems becomes a very real threat. And one that women should be well educated on, as they consider their options for cancer treatment.