Heart Disease Risk Tends To Be Higher In Male Cancer Patients

by Karishma Abhishek on Jan 25 2021 9:37 PM

Heart Disease Risk Tends To Be Higher In Male Cancer Patients
High prevalence of cardiovascular disorders is seen in male breast cancer patients as per a study presented at the American College of Cardiology's Advancing the Cardiovascular Care of the Oncology Patient Virtual course.
"Due to the rarity of male breast cancer, there is no cardiovascular data from larger clinical trials or population studies. The lack of large data makes it even more important to individualize cardiovascular assessment and management based on each patient's unique oncologic, therapeutic and pre-existing cardiovascular risk profile to support them through cancer treatment into survivorship," says Michael Ibrahim, a fourth-year medical student at Georgetown University and one of the study authors.

A retrospective chart review evaluation of 24 male breast cancer patients, between 38 and 79 years old, was done at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer and MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington. 42% of the patients were African American, 29% being Caucasian, 4% Hispanic, and 25% of another ethnicity.

Family history of breast cancer was noted in almost half of the patients. 79% of the patients had invasive ductal carcinoma (the most common type of breast cancer). In Invasive ductal carcinoma, the onset of tumor growth begins in breast ducts followed by the spread into the surrounding breast tissue.

Most of the patients underwent a mastectomy, while a mix of treatments like chemotherapy, HER2-targeted therapy, radiation, and hormone therapy was also noted. 6 patients were diagnosed with a second primary malignancy and 3 with a third primary malignancy.

Heart Disease in Male Cancer Patients

It was observed that 88% of patients were overweight, 58% had high blood pressure and 54% had high cholesterol. Tachyarrhythmia (abnormally increased heart rate) preexisted in 8% of patients and developed in 13% of patients while undergoing treatment. 2 patients had reduced ejection fraction - decrease in the amount of blood the heart pumps out with each beat while other 2 patients developed heart failure (a chronic condition where the heart doesn't pump blood as well as it should--after treatment).

Disparities occur between male and female breast cancer. And in cardiovascular care, data from female breast cancer patients is extrapolated to the age-matched male general population.

Even the risk of cardiotoxicity from anthracycline or HER-2 targeted therapy in males is greater than in female breast cancer patients. Hence more studies are needed to warrant evidence in male patients.

"The field of cardio-oncology is well-positioned to ensure that cardiologists and oncologists work closely together to address both the patients' oncologic and cardiac concerns. Cardio-oncologists or cardiologists should pay close attention to the proposed treatment plan and be part of a multidisciplinary cancer care team to evaluate the patients' cardiovascular risk prior to and through cancer treatments. On a more personal level, cancer patients are already surprised by their cancer diagnosis. Similar to the pretreatment consultation with radiation oncology, breast surgery, and medical oncology, an upfront cardiovascular risk assessment provides greater comfort and further minimizes psychological surprise with cardiovascular complications going into cancer treatment", says, Michael Ibrahim.