From: University of Oxford
Published September 22, 2017 09:22 AM

New Way to Detect Heart Damage Caused by Chemotherapy

The high-tech scanning techniques were enabled by funding from the British Heart Foundation (BHF), and could reveal whether chemotherapy is damaging a person’s heart before any symptoms appear.

Doxorubicin is a commonly used type of chemotherapy drug which slows or stops the growth of cancer cells by blocking an enzyme which cancer cells need to divide and grow. The drug is used to treat a wide variety of cancers including; breast cancer, ovarian cancer, bladder cancer and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and has drastically improved survival rates from these diseases.

However, doxorubicin and other chemotherapy drugs can also cause heart failure, where the heart muscle is damaged and can’t pump blood around the body effectively.

Currently, there is no non-invasive way of establishing whether chemotherapy is affecting a person’s heart and symptoms, such as breathlessness, usually appear when the heart has already suffered significant damage. This means the damage is only discovered once a person is diagnosed with irreversible heart failure.

Read more at University of Oxford

Photo credit: Linda Bartlett via Wikimedia Commons

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