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inali (@inali)

Cancer Treatment Induced Heart Disease

Cancer: Managing Symptoms | Last Active: Jul 11, 2020 | Replies (41)

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@martijwis

Hi Inali, sorry to hear about your radiation induced heart disease. I am in the early stages of getting diagnosed w/ moderate to high risk (of heart attack or stroke) coronary artery disease (and maybe more). I underwent left breast cancer lumpectomy radiation treatment over 6 years ago. And now, via getting a Coronary Calcium Scan, find out I have serious problems with my coronary arteries. In searching for info. on possible radiation induced heart disease for myself, I came not only upon Mayo but also upon "Cleveland Clinic". I found their website also has very good info on "Radiation Induced Heart Disease". I can't post links here but if you do a web search on the two terms (in one search) I put in quotation marks, it should take you to the Cleveland Clinic's Radiation Induced Heart Disease page. Very best wishes to you in your treatment. I share your concern that is a very alarming thing to have happen and am also thinking of getting my affairs in better order. I'm just now beginning this whole process. Thanks for writing and sharing so we others know we're not alone.

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Replies to "Hi Inali, sorry to hear about your radiation induced heart disease. I am in the early..."

Hi martijwis,
I too have recently been diagnosed with CAD. Seems to be part of the RIHD collection of negative effects. I had three stents put in the right coronary artery (RCA) less than two years ago, and in October I learned the artery is now 100% occluded. The term used by the doc when reviewing my tests was a very matter of fact “the artery disappeared”. That totally freaked me out! It can’t be a good thing to have an artery with good blood flow (thanks to the stents) just disappear, right? He grabbed me off the ceiling and explained that there were other ‘channels’ that formed and were feeding blood to that part of the heart. I’m hoping that’s not a temporary thing. At any rate, from one of the research articles at Cleveland Clinic (thanks for the tip), I learned that those with RIHD are more prone to restenosis than most. I’m learning more about this issue every day. There definitely needs to be more research into early intervention strategies that slow or stop the progression prior to a person becoming symptomatic. Discovering this condition exists 40 years after radiation is at least 35 years later than necessary.

Keep in touch and let me know how your treatment progresses.

@martijwis, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I noticed that you wished to post a URL to a web resource with your post. You will be able to add URLs to your posts in a few days. There is a brief period where new members can't post links. We do this to deter spammers and keep the community safe. Clearly the link you wanted to post is not spam. Please allow me to post it for you.

– Radiation Heart Disease https://my.clevelandclinic.org/departments/heart/depts/radiation-heart-disease-clinic

Marti, it is alarming to discover that treatment that helped one disease led to the creation of another. How was your heart disease risk discovered? We're they monitoring you for this possibility since radiation treatments?