Risk appears higher for women with left-sided breast cancer

Thursday, January 20, 2011 (Last Updated: 01/21/2011)

THURSDAY, Jan. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Radiotherapy may increase the long-term risk of death from cardiovascular disease, especially in women with left-sided breast cancer who are treated with contemporary tangential breast or chest-wall radiotherapy, according to a study in the Jan. 25 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Kim Bouillon, M.D., M.P.H., from the Universite Paris-Sud in Villejuif, France, and colleagues studied 4,456 women diagnosed with breast cancer between 1954 and 1984, who survived for at least five years after breast cancer radiotherapy treatment. Participants were followed for an average of 28 years to assess mortality rates.

The investigators identified a total of 421 deaths due to cardiovascular diseases, 236 of which were due to cardiac disease. Women who had undergone radiotherapy had a 1.76-fold increased risk of dying from cardiac disease and a 1.33-fold increased risk of dying from vascular disease compared with those who had not received radiotherapy. Women who were treated for left-sided breast cancer had a 1.56-fold increased risk of death from cardiac disease compared with those treated for right-sided breast cancer. The relative risk increased with time after the diagnosis of breast cancer (P = 0.05).

"Our results confirm that radiotherapy for breast cancer, such as that practiced until the mid-1980s, increased the long-term risk of death from cardiac disease. The excess mortality due to cardiac disease was significantly higher following radiotherapy for left-sided than for right-sided breast cancer," the authors write.

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Specialties Cardiology
Hematology & Oncology
OBGYN & Women's Health

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