Breast Cancer Chemo Threatens Heart Health

New drugs, diet, and exercise could help
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Oct 21, 2007 12:51 PM CDT
Have a heart.   ((c) aubergene)
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(Newser) – Certain chemotherapy drugs that can save a woman from breast cancer can also raise her risk of heart disease, according to a new study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The spike in heart disease comes primarily from chemotherapy medicines known as anthracyclines. "We always felt the benefit of saving lives were part of the accepted cost," said the lead researcher.

Now, scientists are urging doctors to think about heart disease down the road when recommending chemotherapy drugs, and to encourage exercise and proper diet to protect the heart. Though anthracyclines are often used in breast cancer, they are also used to treat  leukemia, lymphomas, and uterine and ovarian cancers.