When the calendar changes to February, red and pink heart-shaped candy fills store shelves in preparation for Valentine’s Day. Let those hearts also serve as a reminder of another February event: American Heart Month.
Health conditions, lifestyle choices and family history can all increase your risk of heart disease. But did you know that cancer and heart disease have been linked?
There’s nothing sweet about their relationship — studies have shown heart disease may increase your risk of developing cancer, and cancer treatments may increase your risk of heart disease.
A 2019 National Health Institute-funded study found heart attack survivors were more likely to develop cancer than those without cardiovascular disease. Even just being high-risk for cardiovascular disease puts individuals at a higher risk of developing cancer. Cancer and cardiovascular disease share many of the same risk factors, such as tobacco use and poor nutrition, but researchers are still working to identify if there is a biological link between the two.
Conversely, a study published in the European Heart Journal found more than one in 10 cancer patients die not from their cancer but from heart problems. Cancer patients dying from cardiovascular disease was highest in those who had bladder (19% of patients), larynx (17%), prostate (17%), womb (16%), bowel (14%) or breast (12%) cancers.
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