Cancer patients are living longer. Breast cancer is no longer considered a death sentence. In the early 80s while I was in Medical School a Breast Cancer diagnosis was an extended hospital stay with a multitude of serious complications. Today most treatments and procedures are outpatient which minimizes cost as well as hospital-related infection exposures. Even patients with mastectomies would be pushed out of the hospital within a few hours however legislation has made it mandatory that the patient only be discharged if she feels she is ready and comfortable to go home in 24 hours.
Statistics show that the 5-year mortality for breast cancer maybe 12% and 10 years perhaps around 18%.
Many cancer patients and survivors actually die from heart disease rather than from the tumors itself, especially if the cancer is of the breast or the prostate .. Research shows that from 3.2 million cancer patients form 1973 to 2012, almost 38$ died from cancer and another 11% from Cardiovascular diseases. Of the later 3 out of 4 died of heart disease. this risk was greatest in the first year after diagnosis and clearly much higher than cohorts without cancer diagnosis.
Cardiovascular conditions included heart disease such as heart failure or a heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, high blood pressure and damage to blood vessels.
Interestingly though .. patients with breast and prostate cancers which are more readily treatable had higher Cardiovascular deaths and the more difficult to treat cancers such as liver, ovary, pancreas, the patients died of their diseases.
As better and newer treatments become available, survival will keep improving and mortality will be related to cardiovascular diseases in the first few years.
Chemotherapy agents may cause heart failure, other issues like kidney failure and lung problems are also often seen. Radiation treatments can also affect heart muscle. One must be mindful of other risks that may increase Cardiovascular mortality such as smoking, obesity, Lipid disorders and Diabetes Mellitus.
Nonetheless, this research clearly indicates that cancer survivors are at twice the risk of dying from Cardiovascular related issues.
Reference European Heart Journal 2019