Chemotherapy & the Link to Congestive Heart Failure
If you or someone you love has battled cancer, you know that the battle can be long, hard and not always pretty. Different types of chemotherapy come along with various side effects. Some common side effects for various types of chemotherapy include headaches, muscle pains, stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea . Everyone handles these side effects differently because no two cancers or treatments are ever the same. Those who have been treated for breast cancer using a kind of chemotherapy called anthracycline are at risk of heart damage.
(Anthracycline, chemically called doxorubicin, has been shown to cause congestive heart failure in about 2 percent of patients. It is important to educate patients on this risk as sometimes, other treatment options such as a mastectomy are available. If heart damage becomes apparent during treatment, it can sometimes be reversed when the drugs are stopped immediately.
What makes this heart damage so scary is that it isn’t always instantaneous. It can happen months or even years after chemotherapy when the patient is no longer being tested for issues. If you’ve experienced chemotherapy for breast cancer, make sure to schedule regular appointments to have your heart condition monitored.
There’s no way to fully prevent the chance of heart problems, but there are some steps you can take to prevent them. Here are a few healthy tips for before, after, and during treatment:
1. Manage an appropriate blood pressure
2. Stop smoking
3. Make sure to stay as active as possible
4. Stay relaxed through meditation
5. Manage your cholesterol
6. Maintain a healthy diet and body weight
Pink Ribbons Memphis specializes in meeting the needs of women who fought or continue to fight breast cancer. We strive to remind women who overcame mastectomies or lymphedemas to remember how beautiful they are and regain any lost self-esteem. We carry breast prostheses, mastectomy bras, post-op care, wigs, and accessories like silicone prosthetic nipples and special bra straps to avoid discomfort. To find out more about our products, visit our website or give us a call at (901) 417-6060.