Heart problems 'leading cause of death among women with breast cancer'

June 20th 2011

Heart problems are a leading cause of death among women with breast cancer, with advances in cancer treatment meaning chances of surviving the disease are increased.

According to a study conducted at the University of Colorado and detailed in the open access journal Breast Cancer Research, of the 60,000 breast cancer patients listed on the SEER-Medicare database in the US, of those who passed away over the course of the study, two-thirds died of something other than cancer, with heart disease being the most common cause.

The team behind the study said that the research acts as a warning for people with cancer that they also need to take care of their general health to reduce their risk of dying from conditions such as heart disease.

Jennifer Patnaik, from University of Colorado Denver, said: "Cancer is a big killer and is responsible for about a quarter of all deaths. However breast cancer is not necessarily a death sentence."

According to figures from Cancer Research UK, 48,034 people in the UK were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, with 12,116 people dying from the disease in the same year.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

1. Cardiovascular disease competes with breast cancer as the leading cause of death for older females diagnosed with breast cancer: a retrospective cohort study, Jennifer L. Patnaik, Tim Byers, Carolyn DiGuiseppi, Dana Dabelea and Tom Denberg, Breast Cancer Research

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