Breast Cancer Patients with Diabetes or Heart Disease More Likely to Die, Study Finds

Breast Cancer Patients with Diabetes or Heart Disease More Likely to Die, Study Finds
Women with breast cancer who have had diabetes for a long time or a cardiovascular disease are more likely to die than those without the conditions, a study reports. The finding applied to deaths from all causes, not just deaths from breast cancer. Researchers published their study, titled “The Impact of Diabetes on Breast Cancer Treatments and Outcomes: A Population-Based Study,” in the journal Diabetes Care. A third of breast cancer patients have diabetes. Studies show they have a 40 percent higher risk of death after developing breast cancer than women without diabetes. There may be multiple reasons for this. For example, research has shown that women with diabetes have lower breast cancer screening rates and more advanced cases of cancer than women without diabetes. In addition, evidence indicates that women with diabetes and other diseases receive less aggressive cancer treatments, especially chemotherapy. Interestingly, breast cancer studies have not taken into account the additional presence of cardiovascular disease. Doctors know certain chemotherapy regimens can affect the heart, so some may opt for more conservative chemotherapy in patients with a cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular risk is higher in women with diabetes, but it's unclear how the combination of the two affects doctors' breast cancer treatment decisions. As an example, while radiotherapy is an important breast cancer treatment, in some cases it can cause long-term heart toxicity. This means doctors may want to avoid it in women with diabetes who also have a cardiovascular disease. Wh
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