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Wars leave damage in their wake, and the war on cancer may be no exception. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy have greatly improved survivorship in some cancers, but they also may leave the heart and cardiovascular system battle scarred. In the absence of clinical trials, cardio-oncologists are building a case for the need to monitor survivors at risk of developing radiation- and chemo-induced cardiovascular diseases, but how and how often remains unclear.
In the mid to late 1970s, the five-year survival rate for a child diagnosed with cancer was 58 percent and for a woman with invasive breast cancer it was 75 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute. Until then, the heart was thought to be safe from the damaging effects of two mainstay...