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Breast Cancer Survivors Have Decreased Stroke Risk

However, stroke risk higher in those who received hormone therapy

TUESDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term survivors of breast cancer are not at increased risk of stroke or transient ischemic attacks, with the exception of those who received hormone therapy or had hypertension or high cholesterol, according to the results of a study published in the Dec. 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Flora E. van Leeuwen, Ph.D., of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, and colleagues examined the treatment-specific incidence of stroke and transient ischemic attack in 4,414 women who were 10-year survivors of early-stage breast cancer.

After a median follow-up of 18 years, the researchers found that the standardized incidence ratios for stroke and transient ischemic attack were reduced compared with the general population (0.8 for each). However, women who had received hormonal treatment or who had hypertension or hypercholesterolemia had a significantly higher risk of stroke (hazard ratios 1.9, 2.1 and 1.6, respectively). There was no increased risk of stroke after irradiation of the supraclavicular nodes.

"Long-term survivors of breast cancer experience no increased risk of cerebrovascular events compared with the general population," van Leeuwen and colleagues conclude. "Hormone therapy is associated with an increased risk of stroke."

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