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In a recent study conducted on the causes of death in 1,807 cancer survivors, over a 7-year follow-up, it was found that 33% died from heart disease and 51% from cancer. On the occasion of the International Workshop on Cardioncology, held in Naples today and tomorrow, a handbook was presented that aims to help patients take care of their heart even when they are sick with cancer

02 OCT – He is no longer an enemy against whom all weapons have sprung: today, many survive a tumor, 67% of adults are alive 5 years after diagnosis and 75% of children are alive today at 10 years of age. It is estimated that cancer survivors in the United States are over 14 and a half million, and this number will reach 18 million in 2022. In Italy there are about 3 million.

However, chemotherapy, biological therapies and radiotherapy can cause short- and long-term complications. In a recent study conducted on the causes of death in 1807 cancer survivors, in a follow-up of 7 years, it was found that 33% died of heart disease and 51% of cancer: unfortunately this is a price to pay for sure. tall.

Due to anti-cancer therapies, a significant percentage of patients develop a series of cardiovascular side effects: heart failure, myocardial infarction, thromboembolism, arrhythmias, QT prolongation, hypertension and, therefore, one in three dies from heart disease caused by the treatments.

pharmacological or radiotherapy for the tumor. All this can be avoided if at the time of diagnosis and before choosing cancer therapy, a cardioncologist is consulted, to identify and treat any cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and to intervene early on undiagnosed heart diseases such as dysfunction.

left ventricular and ischemic heart disease which greatly increase the likelihood of adverse cardiac events. Rules that are part of the cardioncology decalogue presented on the occasion of the International Workshop on Cardioncology, held in Naples today and tomorrow.

Among these, of course, changing the lifestyle increases the likelihood that the treatments will defeat the tumor and do not heavily affect the quality of life and the overall state of health. For some cancers, exercising more, for example, is almost as good as chemotherapy to prevent relapse, while changing diets improves the effectiveness of medications and can reduce adverse events.

“The problem of cardiac side effects of anticancer therapy – explains Nicola Maurea, co-president of the congress and Director of the Complex Structure of Cardiology at the Pascale Foundation in Naples

– is also growing due to the aging of the population. An increasing number of people are diagnosed with cancer with cardiovascular risk factors (hypercholesterolemia, dyslipidemia, diabetes, arterial hypertension) or silent heart disease.

And while everyone’s focused on eliminating the cancer, these problems are either not recognized or not adequately treated – a fallacy in perspective, because this increases the risk of adverse cardiac events following chemotherapy or biologic therapy. The echocardiographic techniques currently widespread in most hospitals and throughout the territory are not sufficient to diagnose heart failure in these patients early.

The new guidelines indicate that it is mandatory to use the new methods of studying cardiac function: global longitudinal strain and three-dimensional echocardiography. In addition, instrumental techniques must be implemented to identify an emerging toxicity, which is the vascular one, at an early stage “.


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