Prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors in women undergoing treatment for breast cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Aims: Women diagnosed with breast cancer are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), due to cardiotoxic anti-cancer treatment and shared risk factors, many of which are modifiable. This presentation reports baseline prevalence of CVD risk factors in women participating in a nurse-led intervention to reduce CVD risk in women with breast cancer.

Methods: Women with early-stage breast cancer commencing systemic cancer treatment were invited to attend a nurse-led cardio-oncology clinic and assessed for CVD risk factors, including Body Mass Index (BMI), waist measurement, physical exercise, diet, smoking, sleep apnoea, depression, alcohol use, personal/family history of CVD, and treatment-related factors. The prevalence of risk factors was analysed by frequency.

Results: Of 50 women approached, 42 (84%) enrolled. Participants were aged 33-81 years (median = 58.5). Almost all (n = 41;97.6%) were planned to receive chemotherapy; a majority (26;61.9%) had a plan for radiation therapy, with 17 (65.4%) planned for radiation to the left chest. Almost all (n = 41;97.6%) were assessed as having at least one modifiable risk factor for CVD; the majority (n = 26;61.9%) had three or more. Thirty-one (73.8%) were at increased risk of CVD indicated by waist measurement > 80 cm, 30 (71.4%) due to dietary habits, 27 (64.3%) due to BMI > 25; and 27 (64.3%) due to not meeting physical activity guidelines. Fewer had sleep apnoea (n = 13;31.0%), current/recent smoking (n = 8;19%), unmanaged depressive symptoms (n = 5;11.9%), or high alcohol consumption (n = 2;4.9%). Seventeen (40.5%) had increased risk due to at least one existing cardiovascular condition and 21 (50.0%) due to family history of CVD.

Conclusions: This cohort of women had an increased risk of CVD due to modifiable lifestyle-related factors in addition to treatment related factors. Results highlight the importance of prioritising targeted interventions to address modifiable CVD risk factors in future breast cancer research, practice and policy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number232
Pages (from-to)125
Number of pages1
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology
Issue numberS9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021
EventClinical Oncology Society of Australia 48th Annual Scientific Meeting -
Duration: 16 Nov 202118 Nov 2021


  • Breast cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Risk factors


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