Cancer Survivors: Check Your Heart

If you are a Cancer Survivor and have endured chemotherapy, it is imperative you pay attention to your heart!!  As a Cancer Survivor who had a heart attack during chemotherapy and permanent heart valve damage due to Herceptin, a breast cancer drug, it is a passion of mine to warn other cancer patients/survivors about heart issues.

Many major cancer hospitals now have a Onco Cardiologist on staff – a Cardiologist who only sees cancer patients and survivors to deal with their heart issues due to strong chemotherapy drugs.  My sister, a breast cancer survivor who completed chemotherapy 18 months ago, recently saw this type of specialist because ever since chemotherapy she has Tachycardia which is a fast heart rate of anywhere from 100 to 120 beats per minute.  My sister’s heart rate prior to chemo was in the 70s.  Adriamycin Cytoxan Chemo is known to cause Tachycardia.  I also had Tachycardia post chemo and have been on medication for 4 years.

HeartI accompanied my sister  to this appointment to support her and because I wanted to know more about this field of cardiology.  Her Onco Cardiologist said because so many cancer survivors are living longer lives, the heart is now a major issue.  Many cancer survivors have no idea they have heart issues or are at such high risk.

According to M. D. Anderson, the #1 Cancer Center in the United States, Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in cancer survivors, which in 2016 included 15.5 million Americans. In fact, the risk of CVD in cancer survivors is 8 times higher than in the general population. There is evidence of heart and blood vessel damage in 50% of cancer survivors 5 years after chemotherapy.

From my experience and my sister’s experience, I think every cancer survivor who had chemotherapy should be checked by a Cardiologist!  Please, have a heart checkup!

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