February 2, 2013

LiveWELL: Know your Risk

28 Days [of] Heart

Day 2

Throughout these 28 Days [of] Heart, myHeart will focus our effort on the promoting heart health among adult survivors of childhood cancer

  • News YOU can USE
  • Risk Factors
  • Heart Healthy Lifestyle: Making it Do-ABLE [in] REAL LIFE
  • Images [and] Pictures of ALL things February
  • Portraits [and] celebrations of REAL people sharing their lived experiences that will tug at our heart strings, put a face on late effect, and most importantly, encourage [and] inspire belief in our HOPE, our FUTURE

And so we begin..

You won’t see a personal history of cancer treated with chest radiation and/or chemotherapy known to be toxic to the heart discussed as a risk facto for heart disease this month. Nevertheless, it is a UNIQUE risk factor carried by the survivorship community.

Diagnosis [and] Treatment-Related Risk Factors:

  1. Diagnosis: You can NOT change the fact that you had cancer [stating the obvious, I know]
  2. Chemotherapy: Doxorubicin, Daunorubicin, Idarubicin, Epirubicin, & Mitoxantrone [anthracyclines]
  3. Radiation: chest/thorax [mantle, mediastinal, lymph node fields; spine, including chest region; abdominal; Total Body Irradiation in preparation for BMT

Coronary Artery Disease is very clearly one of the four heart problems that survivors may encounter as they progress into adulthood. Because of their treatment history, the blood vessels are often scarred and blocked preventing oxygen from reaching the heart and body. This process can lead to heart attack and/or heart failure.

Other factors affecting the survivor’s risk:

  1. Age at the time of treatment
  2. Total doses of radiation [and] anthracyclines
  3. Amount of hear tissue within the radiation field
  4. Treatment w/ other medications that affect the heart
  5. Presence of other conditions affecting the heart

According to the Children’s Oncology Group those survivors at HIGEST risk are those that were treated with HIGH doses of radiation AND anthracyclines at a young age.

Symptoms of Heart Problems:

  1. Shortness of Breath w/ activities that you used to do w/o becoming short of breath
  2. Dizziness
  3. Lightheadedness, near-fainting, or fainting
  4. Fatigue that keeps you from your normal activities
  5. Sweating, nausea, or shortness of breath w/ chest pain
  6. Swelling or fluid rentation to wrists, ankles, or belly
  7. Persistent cough or wheezing
  8. Heart racing intermittently
  9. Feeling as if your heart is ‘skipping a beat’

Monitoring  [and] Follow Up:

  1. Follow Up for the survivor of a childhood cancer is a LIFELONG commitment
  2. The survivor treated with chest radiation [and] anthracycline chemotherapy MUST me followed on a yearly basis
  3. Tests that the survivor should expect include a minimum of an EKG [and] Echocardiogram; a MUGA ECHO may be done as well
  4. Further Information on Heart Follow Up available by clicking <HERE>  

Survivor, what CAN you DO?

  1. STOP smoking [or] don’t start if you don’t already 
  2. Seek to maintain your Ideal Body Weight
  3. Limit the fat in your diet to 30% of your total calories/day
  4. Get Moving: 30 minutes/day most days of the week

May we, the survivors, LiveWELL: Heart Healthy [and] Body Proud THIS day, EVERYDAY…

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