Dr Rachel Jimenez: Risk, Nature of Cardiac Toxicity in Breast Cancer Is Variable

December 8, 2020

Rachel Jimenez, MD, radiation oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, outlines the prevalence of cardiac toxicity, as well as the short-term and long-term impacts.

Rachel Jimenez, MD, radiation oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, outlines the prevalence of cardiac toxicity, as well as the short-term and long-term impacts.

Transcript

How prevalent is cardiac toxicity in breast cancer, and what are some examples of the short-term versus long-term impact?

The risk of cardiac toxicity and the nature of cardiac toxicity in breast cancer is quite variable and it depends a lot on the patient’s baseline risk factors as well as what specific therapies they receive. So, we see different types of short- and long-term side effects based on the specific type of therapy that a patient receives for their breast cancer.

For example, as a radiation oncologist, my patients will receive radiotherapy that could expose the heart to radiation, and studies have suggested that in the short term that can cause pericarditis or other pericardial diseases and in the long term could cause coronary artery disease or heart failure.