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'Multiple Hit' to Breast Cancer Survivors from Therapy, Risks

Longer survival, lifestyle risk factors, cancer therapies all raise odds of cardiovascular disease

MONDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Because women are being treated for breast cancer with increasing success, more breast cancer survivors will be at long-term risk of cardiovascular disease, and therefore subject to a "multiple hit" of risk factors, according to a report in the Oct. 9 Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Lee W. Jones, Ph.D., of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues reviewed research on the cardiovascular impact of breast cancer treatment, which included the direct effects of cancer treatments and pre-existing cardiovascular disease risk factors such as obesity and diabetes. The investigators found that women with cardiovascular risk factors are more likely to incur therapy-induced cardiovascular injury, a phenomenon they describe as a "multiple hit."

They also found that lifestyle modifications, especially exercise therapy, may mitigate this "multiple hit" phenomenon.

"We speculate that the consequences of the 'multiple hit' will become an increasingly important issue in the management of women with early breast cancer," the authors conclude. "Overall, this information is of critical importance to cardiovascular physicians who will increasingly be called upon to evaluate and treat these women."

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