Cholesterol Control Boosts Lymphoma Survivors' Outcomes

Cancer treatment leaves patients prone to heart disease, experts note

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THURSDAY, Nov. 9, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Cholesterol screening and treatment is a cost-effective way to extend the lives of Hodgkin's lymphoma survivors, according to a new U.S. study.

The study of 25-year-old Hodgkin's survivors treated with chest radiation concluded that those who receive cholesterol screening every five years will live a half-year longer than those who don't have the screening.

"Although physicians are aware that Hodgkin's lymphoma survivors are at increased risk of heart disease, it hasn't been well-established how best to monitor these patients," lead author Dr. Aileen Chen, a radiation oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Center in Boston, said in a prepared statement.

"Our study shows that lipid screening in Hodgkin's survivors is cost effective and provides physicians with a guideline on how frequently they should be screening for high cholesterol, an important risk factor for heart disease," Chen said.

When Hodgkin's disease patients receive radiation therapy to the chest in order to treat lymph nodes there, their hearts also receive a small amount of radiation. This puts the survivors at increased risk for heart disease. Those with high cholesterol are most likely to develop heart disease.

If screening detects high cholesterol levels, the patient can be prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs.

The findings were presented Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, in Philadelphia.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about Hodgkin's lymphoma.

SOURCE: American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, news release, Nov. 8, 2006

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