DKK 1,600,000 for the examination of damage to the heart in connection to the treatment of breast cancer

More knowledge would provide a more gentle treatment and improve heart health and the survival of women affected by breast cancer. VELUX FONDEN supports the project.

Which injuries are caused by radiation therapy to the heart? Is there a risk of developing a cardiovascular disease in other treatments of breast cancer?

Maria D' Souza, PhD, doctor at the cardiology department at Herlev and Gentofte Hospital has received DKK 1,600,000 from VELUX FONDEN for the project.

“Our findings will hopefully make us wiser about the women who are at particularly high risk of developing cardiovascular disease, as well as the individual components of the treatments that increases the risk of certain cardiovascular diseases”, says Maria D' Souza.

Approximately one out of nine women in Denmark are affected by breast cancer, making it the most common cancer among women. Treatment usually consists of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, but also anti-hormone therapy is used for hormone sensitive cancers.

Extensive research has raised the suspicion that the radiation, chemotherapy and anti-hormone therapy all leads to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The research will therefore create more knowledge about which types of injury from radiotherapy that may lead to cardiac vascular, if anti - hormone therapy lead to an increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Finally, the research will show if treatment of breast cancer increases the risk of heart rhythm disorders and blood clots in the brain.

”It is unknown how many women will develop heart disease as a side effect of cancer treatment. With more knowledge on this subject we will be able to offer a more gentle treatment in the future, thus potentially improving heart health and survival of women affected by breast cancer”, says Maria D' Souza.

The research group behind the study will investigate the correlations statistically using information from anonymous national records that contain information about the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and studies of heart vessels as well as death and causes of death. The cardiology department at Herlev and Gentofte Hospital under the guidance of doctor, PhD Emil Fosbøl and MD, PhD, Professor Gunnar Gislason, will conduct the research. In addition, MD, PhD Morten Schou and physician, Dr. Med, Professor Dorte Nielsen, from the Department of Cardiology, Department of Oncology, Herlev Hospital will assist with further guidance and expertise.