When someone survives cancer, developing heart disease probably isn’t high on their list of concerns.
But it should be.
In fact, according to an eye-opening new study, cancer survivors actually have a tremendously high risk of dying from heart problems. Which is exactly what happened years ago to my neighbor’s father Frank.
And as it turns out, there seems to be one main reason why cancer survivors like Frank so often go on to develop these fatal heart problems. Let’s take a closer look…
More cancer “survivors” than ever—in part thanks to overdiagnosis epidemic
There are more than 15 million cancer “survivors” living in the U.S. today. And by the year 2026, that number is expected to rise to more than 20 million.
That’s because mainstream medicine suffers from a massive over-diagnosis and over-treatment epidemic. Which means we are finding and treating more and more cancers than ever.
But, we now know that many of these cancers would not have spread, caused harm to the patient, or even shortened the patient’s life…even if they had been left completely alone.
As a result, more and more Americans undergo unnecessary, toxic cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation…which put them at risk of developing secondary cancers, and, as the new study shows…
Cancer survivors more likely to develop heart problems
The mainstream knows this is a huge problem among cancer survivors. In fact, there’s now a whole, new field of medicine called cardio-oncology, which treats cancer survivors who go on to develop heart problems.
But only a few hospitals in the country employ these uber-specialists. And fewer than 50 percent of medical schools offer cardio-oncology topics in their curriculum. So, all too often, survivors are left to put together the pieces of the puzzle on their own.
For the new study, researchers compared heart disease outcomes in 100,000 cancer survivors to more than 500,000 people with no history of cancer.
The cancer group included survivors of leukemia, malignant melanoma, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and cancers of the bladder, breast, cervix, central nervous system, colon, esophagus, kidney, liver, lung, oral cavity, ovaries, pancreas, prostate, stomach, thyroid, and uterus.
Here’s what they found…
Blood clots were by far the most common outcome among cancer survivors.
And people who survived pancreatic cancer had the highest risk, as they were 10 times more likely to develop a blood clot than the control group.
The risk of developing a blood clot gradually lessened over time among survivors. But even at the five-year survival mark, blood clots still remained a high risk for survivors of 18 different types of cancer!
Cardiomyopathy (damage to the heart muscle) and heart failure were also common outcomes. In fact, people who survived 10 types of cancer, including lung cancer, had a higher risk of developing cardiomyopathy and heart failure compared to the control group. The highest risk was among survivors of multiple myeloma, who had more than a three times higher risk than the control group.
Cancer survivors also demonstrated elevated risks for:
- Arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) in eight types of cancers
- Pericarditis (swelling of the outer layer of the heart) in eight types of cancers
- Coronary artery disease in five types of cancers
- Stroke in five types of cancers
- Valvular heart disease (damage to the heart valves) in three types of cancers
One common factor seemed to affect all these survivors who developed serious heart conditions…
Toxic chemotherapy poisons the heart
Of course, cancer itself causes metabolic abnormalities. But it appears that the long-term toxic effects of chemotherapy on the cardiovascular system was the key factor that increased the risk of heart problems among all these survivors. Indeed, survivors who received chemotherapy appeared to have the highest risk for cardiovascular diseases.
Plus, certain types of chemotherapy appeared to be especially virulent. For example, the chemotherapy given to women with breast cancer was associated with a higher risk of cardiomyopathy and heart failure. And the commonly used chemotherapy drug doxorubicin seemed to pose a particular danger.
This drug was developed during the 1950s during the quest to find new antibiotics. Italian researchers found that a bright, red pigment from the Streptomyces strain of bacteria was effective against tumors in an experimental model.
By 1974, it was approved for treatment of cancer in humans. Because of its bright red color and strong effects, doctors came to call it the “Red Devil.”
Since then, doxorubicin has been used to treat many different types of cancers, including cancers of the breast, bladder, kidneys, ovaries, thyroid, stomach, lungs, bones, nerve tissues, joints, and soft tissues. It’s also been given to people with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and certain types of leukemia.
But it’s very toxic to the body and particularly damaging to the heart muscle, causing cardiomyopathy, heart failure, and death in many cancer patients.
And, as I mentioned earlier, that’s exactly what happened to Frank, the father of my next-door neighbor in Philadelphia, while I was in medical training…
The treatment “cures” the cancer, but kills the patient
Frank was a retired firefighter and had been diagnosed with lymphoma. The doxorubicin chemotherapy worked well on his cancer.
But it also caused serious, irreversible damage to his heart. In fact, they had to keep increasing his dosage of digitalis, a drug used to strengthen the contractions of the heart muscle.
However, digitalis quickly becomes toxic—with even just slight increases in dosage. So, Frank’s doctors couldn’t get the dosage high enough to help his heart without causing further toxicity, and I was often called to consult with him about what to do during his doctors’ off hours. Before too long, poor Frank came into the morgue for an autopsy.
In that respect, I always felt that doxorubicin treatment had helped “cure” the cancer, but had killed the patient. And now, as this study suggests, this outcome is all too common among cancer survivors.
Fortunately, as I often report, real answers for cancer have been hiding in plain sight all along. In fact, there are dozens of safe, natural alternatives for preventing, detecting, AND treating all types of cancer without resorting to toxic, even deadly treatments. And I’ve covered them all in my groundbreaking online learning tool, my Authentic Anti-Cancer Protocol. To learn more, or enroll today, simply click here.
“Medium and long-term risks of specific cardiovascular diseases in survivors of 20 adult cancers: a population-based cohort study using multiple linked UK electronic health records databases.” Lancet, August 20, 2019. 394(10203): 1041-1054. doi.org/ 10.1016/S0140-6736(19)31674-5.
“The Cardio-Oncologist Will See You Now.” Scientific American, 2/6/20. (blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-cardio-oncologist-will-see-you-now/)