NEW YORK: Researchers of Columbia University Medical Center indicated lifetime risk of heart diseases ranging from 0.05 percent to 3.5 percent in the early stage breast cancer patients treated by Radiation therapy.
Professor of radiation biophysics David Brenner concluded the findings of a research at Columbia University Medical Center situated in New York.
The new study declared that Radiation therapy for early stage breast cancer carries a small, but real, risk of heart disease which depends over the procedure of the therapy radiation been delivered to the patient.
Women at greatest risk are the ones receiving radiation on their left breast while lying on their back and who also are at risk for heart disease.
Radiation of the left breast ups the risk since that also exposes the heart to radiation, the study authors explained.
The lowest risk is among women receiving radiation for their right breast while lying face down. When radiation is given on the right side, the heart is totally out of the field of radiation, they noted.
Brenner claimed that the findings confirmed the radiation exposure associated with left-breast cancer radiotherapy associated with a generally small, increased risk of heart disease later in life.
In addition, the doses of radiation used today are much lower than they were 20 years ago, so the heart receives less exposure than it once did. “The risk of radiation-associated heart disease is lower for patients treated now than it was in the past,” Brenner added.
For women who need radiation for their left breast, the risk of developing heart disease can be lessened by lying face down during treatment, the researchers found.
In addition, since women most at risk of developing heart disease are those who are already at risk for it, Brenner suggests they can reduce their risk by not smoking and keeping blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
“Of course, that side effect needs to be balanced against the fact that lumpectomy plus radiation is of well-proven efficacy for treating early stage breast cancer,” he said. “All cancer therapies involve balancing benefits and risks.”
The report was published in a research letter online Oct. 28 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.