Heart failure patients are surviving their conditions more often, but a worrisome study shows that they are increasingly likely to develop cancer. According to an online study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology , this disturbing trend could actually be due to side effects of treatments and simply the fact that their medical surveillance has increased.
"Heart failure patients are not only at an increased risk for developing cancer, but the occurrence of cancer increases mortality in these patients," commented Dr. Veronique Roger, Mayo Clinic Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery director and author of the study. "These findings underscore the importance of cancer support and surveillance in the management of heart failure patients."
The study examined two 11-year periods; patients diagnosed with heart failure from 1979-1990 and 1991-2002. The study was conducted with the usage of records from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, which included data pertaining to 596 patients. Patients in the 79-90 group had a 48% increased risk of cancer while patients from 91-02 had a 86% increased cancer risk.
"These findings also illustrate the importance of multi-morbidity among patients living with chronic diseases and support the concept of providing holistic rather than disease-based care," the investigative team emphasizes the importance of these findings in the management and treatment of heart failure and closely monitoring patients for signs of cancer.