Heart at­tack may be an early sign of can­cer

The Niagara Falls Review - - Arts & Life -

A heart at­tack or stroke may be an early sign of can­cer. Re­searchers stud­ied records of 374,331 Medi­care ben­e­fi­cia­ries, mean age 76, who were given can­cer di­ag­noses from 2005 to 2013. They matched them with an equal num­ber of con­trols with­out can­cer. Then they ret­ro­spec­tively tracked heart at­tacks and strokes in the two groups in the year be­fore the can­cer di­ag­no­sis. In the first seven months, there was no dif­fer­ence be­tween the two groups. But from then on, the risk of a car­dio­vas­cu­lar event rose in pa­tients who would later be di­ag­nosed with can­cer. At one month be­fore di­ag­no­sis, those with a can­cer di­ag­no­sis had more than five times the risk of heart at­tack or stroke com­pared with those with­out a can­cer di­ag­no­sis. The re­searchers found that the high­est risks were in those with di­ag­noses of lung and col­orec­tal can­cers. It may be that can­cer dis­rupts the body’s blood sys­tem be­fore the dis­ease is de­tectable, caus­ing clots that lead to car­dio­vas­cu­lar events. The study, in the jour­nal Blood, had no data on the sever­ity of the heart at­tacks and strokes, and the au­thors ac­knowl­edge that the re­sults may not ap­ply to younger pa­tients. “I don’t want to over­state the ab­so­lute risk con­nect­ing can­cer to heart at­tack and stroke,” said the lead au­thor, Dr. Babak Navi, an as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor of neu­rol­ogy at Weill Cor­nell Medicine, “but there is a sub­stan­tial rel­a­tive risk con­nec­tion that has im­me­di­ate clin­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions.”

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