Link Between Radiation And Heart Disease Not Likely To Change Treatment

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(Memphis) Baptist Cancer Center says a new study showing an increase risk of heart disease among breast cancer survivors who receive radiation therapy is not likely to change treatment for patients.

The study,by the New England Journal of Medicine, showed women treated with radiation for breast cancer are more likely to develop heart problems later in life.

Researchers followed more than 2,000 breast cancer survivors in Sweden and Denmark and found the increased risk was greatest in the first five years after radiotherapy, but persisted for at least two decades.

Dr. Marie Taylor, a radiation oncologist at Baptist Cancer Center, says the medical community has known for decades that radiation has effects on the heart just like it doe on normal skin.

She says this new study just gives them a more specific look at the risk.

Dr. Taylor says current guidelines are already very conservative and cautious when it comes to radiation exposure.

“It may help us further refine treatment planning decisions. If there may be equal options for a particular therapy and one that will guide us down a long-term result of lower complications. Absolutely, we’ll select that choice for that particular patient,” said Dr. Taylor.

Woman can do a lot to control their risk of heart disease by keeping weight, cholesterol and blood pressure under control.