The risk of developing cancer is higher for people who develop heart failure after the first heart attack, says a new study.
Cancer has been considered a separate cause of death from heart disease. Many studies have been conducted to find the link between heart disease and increased cancer risk.
‘The risk of cancer was higher among patients with heart failure after 1.5 years of follow-up.’
The non-cardiac causes of heart failure death such as cancer are being studied as researchers learn more about their association with the disease.
In the current study, the researchers examined cancer risk in patients who developed heart failure after their first heart attack.
The researchers looked at the records of 1,081 patients who had their first heart attack between November 2002 and December 2010. The records were compared to those with and without heart failure after heart attack.
After an average of 4.9 years of follow-up, 228 patients (21%) were diagnosed with heart failure and 28 of those patients (12.3%) developed cancer. In comparison, 8.2% of patients without heart failure were diagnosed with cancer. After 1.5 years of follow-up, the risk of cancer was higher among patients with heart failure.
"Our research suggests an association between both diseases and it is possible that as we learn more about how this connection works, we can prevent deaths. Physicians should recognize this increased cancer risk for heart failure patients and follow guideline recommended surveillance and early detection practices," said Veronique Roger, MD, Mayo Clinic.
The researchers also studied the influence of medication on cancer diagnosis. Patients who developed heart failure after heart attack were prescribed the same medications at discharge as those who were not. The treatment for heart attack was not likely responsible for the higher rate of cancer in heart failure patients, concluded the researchers.
The study is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.