Long-term effects of anthracycline chemotherapy on the heart?

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Question from ElsieBruin: Was there anything reported about the long-term effects of chemotherapy on the heart? If we had an anthracycline in the past, what precautions should we take to ensure heart health?
Answers - Kathy D. Miller, M.D. No new long-term studies of women treated with anthracyclines were reported. We do know that in women who received an anthracycline after the age of 50, there is an increase in the likelihood of developing heart problems, although the increase was small. We don't have as much information about women who were treated with anthracyclines when they were younger. I think women should know that age is a factor in side effects from anthracyclines, and it is important for them to reduce factors that are in their control, like reducing fat in the diet, maintaining a healthy body weight, aggressively treating diabetes and high blood pressure, and avoiding smoking.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Updates From the 2009 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium featured Kathy Miller, M.D. and Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. answering your questions about the latest updates on breast cancer risk, screening techniques, treatment options, and more.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in December 2009.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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