February 26, 2018 – Heart Risk and Breast Cancer


Anchor lead: A major heart association is warning about the cardiovascular risks of some breast cancer treatments, Elizabeth Tracey reports

If you’ve been treated for breast cancer using certain therapies, the American Heart Association wants you to know you may be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Ben Park, a breast cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, says these risks have been known for some time.

Park: Knowing that there are certain therapies that cause increased risk to the heart, certain chemotherapies, anthrocycline class in particular, radiation, especially if it’s on the left side, these are all things that we’ve known about, are also very honest with our patients about the risks, but they’re relative risks. We really need to do what’s best for the patients, because at the end of the day if there’s an opportunity to cure breast cancer, we have to maximize that opportunity, and that involves giving these drugs and therapies that again, have risks.   :29

Park says that increased vigilance for heart problems is just one part of the constellation of care that should surround any women who’s been successfully treated for breast cancer. He says its good news that so many more women are living much longer after treatment. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.