Cancer Increases Your Stroke and Heart Attack Risk


After a cancer diagnosis, your risk of developing either a stroke or heart attack is increased.  According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (August 22, 2017), 4.7 percent of people within six months of being diagnosed with cancer had a stroke or heart attack as opposed to just 2.2 percent of people not diagnosed. 

The study included almost 575,000 people covered by Medicare.  The cancers being diagnosed included bladder, breast, colorectal, gastric, lung, pancreatic, and prostate.  The study also found that people with more advanced cancers were at a higher risk than those with an early stage cancer.


The study could not determine if the increase in risk was attributed to cancer itself or to treatments.  Those newly diagnosed with cancer that also have the traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, smoking or living a sedentary lifestyle may be at an even higher risk.


We all need to know, recognize and respond to the symptoms of both a stroke and a heart attack.  The earlier we receive treatment, the better the outcomes so know the symptoms and respond quickly. 


STROKE - Know the Symptoms

A stroke occurs when blood clots develop in the arteries that supply the brain.  The most common warning signs of a stroke are sudden:

·     Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg

·     Confusion or trouble speaking

·     Difficulty with your vision

·     Dizziness, trouble walking, balance problems, or coordination difficulty and

·     A severe headache with no known cause


HEART ATTACk - Know the Symptoms

A heart attack occurs when blood clots develop in the arteries that supply blood to the heart.  The most common warning signs of a heart attack are:

·     Chest discomfort, pain or tightness

·     Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

·     Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach


If you experience any of these symptoms, the American Heart Association recommends that you call 911 immediately.  The quicker you can receive medical assistance the less damage you will suffer. 

Some doctors recommend that you carry Aspirin tablets with you and that as soon as you experience any of these symptoms, you immediately take these pills.  Before you do this speak to your doctor to be sure that they recommend this for you. 

It is much better to go to the emergency room and find out that all you have is indigestion than ignore the symptoms and allow your body to be permanently and severely damaged.