Cardiotoxicity after cancer treatment: a new frontier for cardio-prevention

Robyn Clark, A McCarthy, Bogda Koczwara, J Atherton

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Background: Cardiotoxicity, which involves direct effects of the cancer treatment on heart function and structure, may be accelerated in the presence of traditional cardiovascular risk factors.

Purpose: This study developed and piloted a cardiotoxicity risk assessment questionnaire to quantify, for the first time the potential extent of cardiovascular and/or cardiotoxicity risk factors in breast cancer patients before treatment.

Methods: The study was conducted in 2 phases. Phase 1 included content and face validity testing an expert panel consensus and Phase 2 pilot testing of the questionnaire in a sample of breast cancer patients (n = 36) undergoing chemotherapy, at two Australian public hospital oncology clinics. Questionnaires were self administered, in the presence of a research assistant, during patient waiting time for third or fourth cycle of chemotherapy.

Results: Mean age of the female participants was 54.8 years. Family history CVD risk factors included hypercholesterolaemia and myocardial infarction. Participants reported their own CVD risk factors including diabetes 2.8%, hypertension 19.8%, hypercholesterolaemia 11% and sleep apnoea 5%. Lifestyle CVD risk factors included; 0% participants eating the recommended 5 vegetables per day and 78% not eating the recommend 2 fruits per day; 13% reported being current smokers and 75% regular consumers of alcohol, 75% reported being moderately active, 24% had little to no social support and 30% recorded high to very high K10 depression scores and sleeping less than the national average (6.7 hours v. 7.3 hours per night). 61% were overweight or obese. Unwillingness to undertake lifestyle changes was high; alcohol consumption 88%; dietary habits 44%; good emotional/mental health strategies 72%; improve physical activity 61%; quit smoking 68% learn more about heart health 78% and lose weight 50%.

Conclusion: This study is an important first step towards evidence-based and personalised assessment, prevention and management of treatment-associated cardiac burden after breast cancer.
Original languageEnglish
Article number197
Pages (from-to)129-130
Number of pages2
JournalHeart, Lung and Circulation
Issue numberSuppl_2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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