New research suggests cancer patients are at higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than the general population.
According to the study, the results of which are published in the European Heart Journal, more than one in 10 cancer survivors die from heart and blood vessel problems, rather than their initial illness.
Among the 3,234,256 cancer patients studied for the research, 38% died from cancer, while 11% died from cardiovascular diseases. Among the deaths from cardiovascular diseases, 76% were due to heart disease. The risk of dying from cardiovascular disease was also highest in the first year after a patient’s cancer diagnosis and among patients younger than 35.
Among those cancer patients diagnosed before the age of 55 and who went on to survive their illness, the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease was more than 10 times higher than that for the general population.
Meanwhile, patients with breast, prostate or bladder cancer were most likely to die from heart disease – but this is simply because these are the most common types of cancer.
It is still unclear as to why cancer patients have a seemingly higher risk of heart disease, but their treatment itself or lifestyle factors, such as being overweight, drinking too much and not exercising, could be to blame, experts say.