Breast cancer treatments 'can double chance of heart disease'
Breast cancer survivors who undergo common forms of treatment are twice as likely to develop heart disease, new research shows.
Experts said such women should undergo screening in subsequent years to check their heart health, in a bid to protect them from heart disease.
The study of almost 15,000 subjects found that women who underwent radiotherapy saw a sharp increase in rates of cardiac disease, while some forms of chemotherapy were linked to a four-fold rise in heart failure.
The research by the Netherlands Cancer Institute tracked 14,645 breast cancer sufferers between 1970 and 2009, and examined those at risk.
The study found 11pc of those who underwent radiotherapy of the lymph nodes behind the sternum went on to develop the disease, compared with just 6pc of those who underwent different forms of cancer treatment.
Rates of heart attacks were 50pc higher in the radiotherapy group, compared with the general population.
And the research found that women given anthracycline-based chemotherapy had rates of heart failure four times those of patients who had other types of treatment. When combined with radiotherapy of lymph nodes behind the sternum, there was a nine-fold increased risk of heart disease, the study, published in the 'British Journal of Cancer', found.
Researchers said modern techniques would be expected to have a lower impact, as they exposed the heart to lower doses.