Radiation Can Cause Heart Issues—Years Later (Video)

Common cancer treatment ups risk of certain conditions

One of the most common treatments for cancerous tumors is therapeutic radiation, which can be very effective and even life-saving. However, doctors are now recognizing that when patients receive radiation to the chest, cardiac issues can sometimes occur as a result — often years or decades later.

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In this video, Bruce Lytle, MD, chairman of the Heart & Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic, describes how radiation in the vicinity of the heart can cause damage to normal structures that may not come to fruition for many years. Some of the issues that may result include pericardial disease, valvular heart disease and radiation-induced cardiomyopathy.

Dr. Lytle explains how a specialist called a cardio-oncologist, who treats both cancer and heart conditions, can help. The cardio-oncologist can identify what type of heart problem is causing a patient’s symptoms and whether surgery or other types of treatments could help.

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