Radiation side effects are more than just cardiovascular riskAccording to the findings of the UK based researchers, a gray unit of radiation that is administered can have a great impact on the heart which increases the likelihood of the woman suffering from a serious cardiovascular event in the future at some point. To be more precise, the risk is increased by as much as 7.4 percent. Together with her colors, Sarah Darby analyzed 168 survivors of breast cancer from Denmark and Sweden since 1958. They found that radiation that breast cancer patients receive correlate directly with increased risk for tragic cardiovascular events. As you would expect, breast cancer survivors who are exposed to the highest radiations record the highest rate of heart disease.

Breast tumors patients risk getting heart attack

Based on the figures, women having left breast tumors receive an average of 6.6 Gy radiations while those with tumors on their right breast get 2.9 Gy on average. The overall dose of radiation among all women was 4.9 G. When this was adjusted to reflect the country of residence, year of diagnosis and age at diagnosis, the researchers came to a conclusion that on average, the average woman who got treatment for breast cancer had 16.3 % more of getting a heart attack compared to the average woman within the first 5 years of exposure.

This percentage then dropped slightly after five years to 15.5% and to 1.2% for the next 10 years. However, after 20 years from when one was first exposed to the radiation, survivors of breast cancer still had an elevated risk of 8.2 percent of getting coronary revascularization, myocardial infarction or even dying as a result of ischemic heart attack. It is essential that clients consider cardiac risk factors and cardiac dose and even tumor control as they make decisions regarding using radiotherapy in treatment of breast cancer. This was concluded by the researchers after noting that women who had preexisting factors for cardiac arrest had even much higher risks of suffering from a serious cardiovascular complication in the future.

Radiation has even more side effects

What is even worrying is the fact that cardiovascular risk isn’t only the side effects of radiation. Even though there were some medical professionals who dismissed the findings of the study for being less serious and overblown, some of them affirmed the findings as both ominous and valid. In fact, a prominent doctor strongly admitted that these findings are just the start as radiation treatment can have many other long term health effects. Besides ischemic cardiac disease, researchers have also associated radiation therapy with many other cardiac conditions like peripheral vascular disease, pericardial disease, valvular dysfunction, arrhythmias and cardiomyopathy.  Given these findings, it is apparent that radiation treatment given to breast cancer patients can have dangerous effects.