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Cancer Diagnosis and Heart Attacks

A study introduced in the New England Journal of Medicine found evidence that there is a link between cancer diagnosis and heart attacks. Not only that, but the increased severity of the cancer diagnosed increases the likelihood of the heart attack.

Within the last decade, healthcare professionals have found a link between heart attacks and stress. Imagine the stress put on an individual who has received a cancer diagnosis – especially that of esophageal, liver or pancreatic cancer, three of the deadliest kinds. Not only are they three times as likely to have a heart attack within the first week of diagnosis, but the likelihood of suicide increases, as well. It was found that the increased amount of shock received with the diagnosis was directly correlated with the rate of patients experiencing heart attacks  or committing suicide within the first week following diagnosis prior to receiving any medical treatment for the disease.

In support of these recent findings, it was also found that those who have already been receiving psychiatric treatment or medical treatment for heart disease were less likely to die from a heart attack or suicide following a cancer diagnosis. This suggests that those with heart disease are not only familiar with disease itself, but have developed techniques that help them better cope with stress and anxiety.

This study also suggests that not only do healthcare providers need to be aware of these increased risks as they are giving serious diagnoses to patients, but friends and family members need to be mindful, as well. So, if you know someone who was recently diagnosed with cancer try to offer support as best you can and learn to look for warning signs and symptoms of potentially serious hazards.

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