Young cancer survivors face future heart risk

May 16, 2008 8:57:42 AM PDT
Children who survive cancer face a much greater risk of heart problems later in life.

A University of Minnesota study found that, compared to their healthy siblings, children who had survived cancer were five to 10 times more likely to have heart problems.

Still, the incidence of problems was low. Of the 14,000 cancer survivors studied, 2 percent had hardening of the arteries, 4 percent had heart failure, 4 percent had a valve problem, and 1 percent suffered a heart attack.

Certain chemotherapy drugs and radiation can harm the heart, but it has been seen as a relatively small price to pay for beating cancer.

The study results were released by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.