Radiation and Your Heart
This is an article from BreastCancer.org about a recent study linking a higher risk of cardiac stenosis to breast radiation, especially to left breast radiation. Do not panic! The suggestion is that older radiation was more likely to cause this problem, and that the rate is low. As always, the balance for us is the need to attack the known cancer vs the possibility of later negative side effects. Here is the beginning of the article and a link:
Breast Irradiation Tied to Coronary StenosisThe coronary arteries are large blood vessels that supply the heart with most of the blood it needs to stay healthy. Many factors,
including age, inflammation, and high cholesterol, can cause the coronary arteries to narrow or become blocked. Doctors call this
narrowing and blockage "stenosis." Stenosis limits blood flow to the heart, which may cause the heart to malfunction or lead to a
A large study found women who'd received radiation therapy to treat early-stage breast cancer were more likely to have coronary
stenosis compared to women who hadn't received radiation therapy for breast cancer. The women had a coronary angiography, an
x-ray test that evaluates the health of the coronary arteries.
The study was done in Sweden, where healthcare is delivered through a national health system. This system allows doctors to track
health outcomes and do research on links between health factors and health risks.
All the women in the study had coronary angiography between 1990 and 2004. The 199 women previously treated with radiation
therapy for early-stage breast cancer got the radiation between 1970 and 2003.