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Heart Health Post SCT, Post Chemo-

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In a period of less than one year, my oncologist had me undergo four cardiotoxic chemotherapy regimens- Adriamycin, Cytoxan, Busulfan, and Melphalan.

To say that oncology has known about cardio toxicity aka chemotherapy-induced Cardiomyopathy for “some time” is an understatement. In fact, what my oncologist gave me for my induction therapy, consolidation therapy and autologous stem cell transplant should be illegal. I’ve read studies that document the heart damage done by adriamycin in studies from the early 1980’s. 

The fact that it took more than 15 years before I was diagnosed with chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy simply means that heart damage from cancer treatment can be a short, long-term or late stage side effect.

At this point, I will probably die of heart damage (Cardiomyopathy)  caused by chemotherapy before I die from my original cancer, multiple myeloma.

The interesting thing that the article linked and excerpted points is how it discusses “ejection fraction.”

“Burke’s echocardiogram reading showed decreased heart function. Although he didn’t have overt heart failure, there were definite changes to his heart muscle. Without treatment, the damage could lead to actual heart failure.”

Like my blood cancer, multiple myeloma, I researched and created a regimen of evidence-based, non-toxic, non-conventional heart therapies.

daily, weekly, etc.

I have managed my atrial fibrillation and heart damage since late 2010 without any conventional heart meds such as metroprolol. My ejection fraction has increased by 20%.

If you would like to learn more about evidence-based, non-toxic, non-conventional heart therapies scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Hang in there,

David Emerson

  • MM Survivor
  • MM Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

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Understanding Heart Problems After Cancer Treatment

Doctors have known for some time about cardiotoxicity — the toxic effects that certain cancer treatments have on the heart. Here, we take a closer look.

Thad Burke felt great after finishing his first Half Ironman triathlon in September 2013. Seven years earlier, Burke, then 20, had received chemotherapy and radiation therapy to put stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma into remission. With cancer behind him, Burke, a resident of Brandon, Mississippi, was at his peak fitness level. So, when a routine annual cancer survivor checkup indicated a heart problem less than four months after the race, Burke was stunned.

“There’s always a fear of cancer recurrence when you go to these checkups. But heart disease in my mid-20s wasn’t on my radar. I had no symptoms and was more physically active than ever,” Burke says. “I was aware that cancer treatments could potentially affect my heart down the road. But I didn’t realize how soon down the road it could be.”

The squeezing action, known as the ejection fraction, of Burke’s left heart ventricle was low. His heart was pumping out 45% blood volume with each squeeze. A healthy ejection fraction for a man typically falls in the 55% to 70% range, according to the American Heart Association. Anything below 40% indicates some degree of heart failure.

Burke’s echocardiogram reading showed decreased heart function. Although he didn’t have overt heart failure, there were definite changes to his heart muscle. Without treatment, the damage could lead to actual heart failure.

Connecting Cancer and Heart Disease

Doctors have known for some time about cardiotoxicity — the toxic effects that certain cancer treatments have on the heart. For instance, chemotherapy is effective because it kills cancer cells. But the drugs affect healthy cells, too, including the ones that power the heart.

  • Herceptin (trastuzumab),
  • anthracyclines and
  • 5-fluorouracil

have some of the strongest cardiotoxic effects. Radiation therapy, especially treatment that targets tumors in the chest area, can damage heart muscle and affect coronary arteries that supply blood and oxygen to heart muscles. Studies also show a link between certain targeted therapies, hormone therapies, immunotherapies and heart problems.

However, in addition to direct injury to the heart and associated tissues, most heart problems in patients with cancer are a result of secondary effects of the drugs on blood pressure, lipids, sugar control and lifestyle changes. Cardiovascular disease isn’t exclusive to cancer survivors.

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