As if fighting one battle wasn’t enough. Breast cancer survivors may have another battle to face soon, that is heart failure. Studies show that heart failure is high amongst women who’ve have survived breast cancer. Us poor woman just can’t catch a break. Read more below.


They found a much higher rate of heart failure among breast cancer survivors than has previously been reported, and said their findings likely reflect the real-world risks that women have. The 12,000 women studied for the report had a 20 percent risk of developing heart failure over just five years if they got a common chemotherapy regimen, compared to just 3.5 percent of breast cancer patients who did not get chemo.

“I think these drugs are critical to improving breast cancer survival,” said Erin Aiello Bowles of the Seattle-based Group Health Research Institute, who led the study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. “But these drugs are toxic. They are meant to target disease but they can often damage other parts of the body.”
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Clinical trials of breast cancer patients — designed to discover whether drugs fight disease and to show how safe they are — have shown that the drugs can damage the heart and cause higher rates of heart failure. They generally demonstrate about a 4 percent increase in heart failure over three to five years for women getting chemo. But clinical trials usually involve a select group of patients who are healthy in other ways.

Bowles said her team set out to look at real-world patients of all ages and with a range of health conditions on top of their breast cancer. They went through the medical records of women at eight health systems who were treated between 1999 and 2007 with two very common cancer drugs: a group of drugs called anthracyclines, such as adriamycin, and a targeted antibody drug called Herceptin or trastuzumab.