In a new study, researchers found that broken heart syndrome is linked to an increased risk of cancer.
They found that one in six people with broken heart syndrome had cancer and they were less likely to survive for five years after it occurred.
The research was conducted by an international team.
Broken heart syndrome is also called takotsubo syndrome. It occurs when the heart’s main pumping chamber temporarily enlarges and doesn’t pump well.
It major syndrome may feel like a heart attack and includes chest pain and shortness of breath, but there is no heart muscle damage and no blockage in the coronary arteries feeding the heart.
Previous research has shown that this heart condition can be triggered by emotional or physical stress.
In the new study, the team found that this syndrome has a strong link with cancer.
They examined 1,604 patients from 26 centers. The average age of the people was 70 and most of them were women.
The team found 267 patients or 1 in 6 had cancer. The most frequent cancer type was breast cancer, followed by tumors affecting the gastrointestinal system, respiratory tract, internal sex organs, skin, and other areas.
These people were more likely to die within 5 years after the syndrome began.
The findings provide the strongest association between the syndrome and cancer.
The team says people with broken heart syndrome might benefit if screened for cancer to improve their overall survival.
In addition, doctors need to raise awareness that broken heart syndrome should be considered in patients undergoing cancer diagnosis or treatment who experience chest pain and shortness of breath.
Future work needs to examine whether the worse prognosis in patients with broken heart syndrome and cancer might be due to a specific type or stage of cancer, or the cancer treatments received.
One author of the study is Christian Templin, M.D., Ph.D. from the University Heart Center Zurich.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
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