Individuals diagnosed with cancer at a younger age may face a higher risk of cardiac disease, a study has found.
Heart disease has been known for being the leading cause of treatment-related, non-tumour deaths among survivors of childhood cancer, breast cancer and Hodgkin lymphoma.
The study showed that cancer survivors diagnosed at ages 15 to 19 had 4.2 times higher risk of death from heart diseases compared to the general population of similar age and gender.
Survivors who were 35 to 39 years of age at cancer diagnosis had 1.2 times higher risk of death from heart disease compared to the general population of similar age and gender.
“The study is important for clinicians because it helps them focus the most intensive follow-up care on those most at risk,” said Mike Hawkins, Professor at the University of Birmingham in Britain.
It is important for survivors because it empowers them by providing them with their long-term chances of survival, the study said.
The significance of age at diagnosis was most apparent for survivors of Hodgkin lymphoma — cancer of the lymphatic system.
Survivors of Hodgkin lymphoma experienced 3.8 times the risk of death from heart diseases than expected from members of the general population of similar age and gender.
Survivors of other types of cancer also had a higher than expected risk of death from heart disease including: leukemia, genitourinary cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, and others.
For the study, published in the journal Circulation, the team included more than 200,000 survivors diagnosed with cancer from ages 15 to 39 who survived at least five years after being diagnosed.