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Q&A – BREAST CANCER AND HEART HEALTH

Join our panel of experts for a free Q&A on Wednesday 7 August from 5-6:30pm (AEST), as they discuss the link between breast cancer and heart health.

While advances in breast cancer treatments have improved survival rates considerably over the last 30 years, research shows that survivors of breast cancer are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease than individuals without a history of cancer.

Women diagnosed with breast cancer, have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular complications, such as heart failure, heart attacks, and hypertension. There are several factors that contribute to this:

  • Treatment effects: some treatments for breast cancer, such as certain chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy, can have adverse affects on the heart and blood vessels. This is known as cardiotoxicity – damage or dysfunction of the heart muscle caused by medications or treatments. Recognising the signs of cardiotoxicity is crucial for early intervention and management. Symptoms may include: shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort, fatigue, swelling and irregular heartbeat.
  • Shared risk factors: breast cancer and cardiovascular disease share common risk factors, including obesity, smoking, physical inactivity and poor diet. Addressing these risk factors through lifestyle modifications can reduce the risk of both diseases.
  • Hormonal factors: estrogen, a hormone that plays a key role in breast cancer development, may also affect the cardiovascular system. Women who undergo hormonal therapy for breast cancer may experience changes in their cholesterol levels and blood pressure, which can contribute to cardiovascular complications.

The relationship between breast cancer and heart health underscores the importance of comprehensive care for breast cancer patients. By better understanding this connection, health professionals and patients can take proactive steps to mitigate risk factors and monitor cardiac health, and individuals can optimize their long-term health outcomes and quality of life.

In our next Q&A event, moderated by Author and Journalist, Annabel Crabb, our panel of experts will explore the topic of breast cancer and heart health; the nature, prevalence and management of cardiotoxicity and cardiovascular disease after breast cancer; strategies for prevention; a multidisciplinary team approach to risk management including the role of GP’s and cardiologists; and self-management strategies to reduce cardiovascular risk. We will also hear a patient’s perspective on the long-term impact that breast cancer treatment had on her heart.

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Meet the Panel

YOU CAN HELP TO CHANGE A YOUNG WOMAN’S FUTURE

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Ms Annabel Crabb

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A/Prof Eng-Siew Koh

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Prof Bogda Koczwara

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Ms Lee Hunt

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Dr Elysia Thornton-Benko

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Prof Aaron Sverdlov

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