, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp 514-519
Date: 20 Oct 2013

Radiation Therapy and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Breast Cancer

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The cardiovascular disease risk among the breast cancer population is becoming increasingly important as the population of long-term survivors continues to rise. Radiation therapy decreases local reoccurrence and improves overall survival. These benefits however are not met without challenges including the potential for an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Early clinical trials demonstrate that cardiovascular mortality is increased following radiation therapy compared to those treated without radiation therapy. Cardiovascular disease morbidity is also associated with radiation therapy for women with breast cancer. Among those who are irradiated, potential risk factors including age, surgery type, left-sided disease, dose, and previous cardiovascular disease may increase the risk of developing fatal cardiovascular disease. Newer clinical trials are showing promising results, with a decline in cardiovascular disease risk among those treated with radiation therapy; however, longer-term follow up is needed to confirm these findings.