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Watch out for your Heart

As if having cancer wasn’t enough, my Consultant suddenly announced he wasn’t happy, and was sending me to the Royal Brompton heart hospital. No-one had bothered to tell me, but Hormone Therapy (Tamoxifen, Aromasin and Arimidex) had apparently damaged my heart.
It happens – and wouldn’t you know, it had happened to me,
The one good thing was that The Brompton were brilliant, and couldn’t have taken greater care of me.  Having experienced cancer treatment, I found their care was superb, and I was cocooned in a caring environment that couldn’t do enough for me. Even afterwards, their follow-up care was exemplary.

But it’s worth checking that your heart is OK whenever you have a check-up.  I felt absolutely fine – had no symptoms – no breathlessness and nothing to alarm me.  But I ended up with a seven-hour op.  Not funny.

New Research :
So I was interested to read of a small study undertaken at Madrid’s Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III

It said that “Researchers have identified a very early marker of cardiac damage in patients undergoing therapy with anthracyclines, a family of drugs commonly used to treat cancer. This finding will enable the early diagnosis of the cardiotoxicity associated with this group of widely used chemotherapy drugs.

Every year, 4 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed in Europe. Advances in cancer treatment sometimes come at the cost of major adverse effects, and one of the most prominent is cardiotoxicity. Myocardial toxicity effects as many as 25% of patients undergoing treatment with commonly used anticancer drugs. The effects of this damage can be severe, condemning the cancer survivor to chronic heart disease and even causing premature death.

This was only a small study, but shows that Oncologists are more aware of the long-term side effects that cancer drugs can have on the heart.

Follow up

The Brompton really cares for patients.  Even employing a Consultant who is a wizard with dealing with long-term side effects of cancer drugs.  I was passed over to his care, and am pleased to say that ten years on, apparently my ticker is performing extremely well.  Long may it last!

Incidentally The Brompton is trying to sell off an old building to develop a brand new centre.  Sadly, another NHS hospital has got involved as they wish to expand, so the sale and development has stalled.  If you see a petition for the Brompton do sign it as it has helped so many.

 

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