Cancer survivors have older hearts, CDC finds

Cancer survivors may be at increased risk of heart disease since their hearts more often appear older than their actual age in comparison to those who haven't had cancer, according to a Jan. 8 CDC report. 

The study included a total of 846,396 participants, of which 69,053 were cancer survivors between the ages of 30 and 74. Among men, the predicted heart age was 57.2 years while the excess heart age, or the difference between the predicted heart age and actual age, was 8.5 years, aging the heart to 65.7 years. The predicted and excess heart ages for women was 54.8 years and 6.5 years, respectively, making the heart age 61.3 years.

The prevalence of excess heart age of five years or more was greater among cancer survivors who were men, those with lower income and education levels, and Black cancer survivors, especially Black women.

Overall, male and female cancer survivors had an excess heart age of at least five years more often than non-cancer participants. 

"The use of predicted heart age by physicians to encourage cancer survivors to improve modifiable risk factors and make heart health choices, such as tobacco cessation, regular physical activity, and a healthy diet to maintain healthy weight, can engage survivors in informed cancer care planning and diagnostics," the study authors concluded. 

To view the full report, click here.


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