Based on the latest statistics the prognosis for patients with malignancy has dramatically improved. The overall 5 year survival rate for those who were diagnosed with a cancer between 2002 and 2008 was approximately 65%1, and as of 2008, 12 million Americans were cancer survivors.2 However, this extended longevity now exposes these patients to the risk of other health issues related to their primary cancer or to the treatment that ensured their survival. Specifically, patients who have not succumbed prematurely to their oncologic disease may develop cardiovascular disease that is either a result of the long-term effects of their traditional cardiovascular risk factors or that is due to the direct cardiovascular toxicity of the cancer itself or from the administered therapy. In fact, Patnaik and colleagues reviewed the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare linked database and found that breast cancer survivors were as likely to die from cardiovascular disease as from recurrent breast cancer.3 Additionally, Mertens and colleagues found that cardiovascular events are the leading cause of nonmalignant deaths in survivors of childhood cancers.4
Recommended CitationSchwartz, MD, Marc L, "Cardio-oncology for the 21st century: introduction." (2013). Cardiology Faculty Papers. Paper 23.