Cardiovascular mortality in cancer survivors more likely than in the general population

April 2022 Science Nalinee Pathak
Heart and Circulatory System with Blood Vessels

An English retrospective study has reported that cancer survivors are more likely to develop heart diseases than the general population. Findings from this study were recently published in the journal JACC: CardioOncology.

Cancers and cardiovascular diseases are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. With improvements in cancer diagnosis and treatment, people survive longer after cancer. However, these patients are at high risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, it is essential to estimate the risk of cardiovascular diseases with the risk of death due to cancer. Strongman et al. have addressed this relevant concern in their latest research.

Study details

The retrospective study used data from linked English electronic health records of 104,028 adults. All participants were aged ≥ 40, first diagnosed with one of the nine common cancers (colorectal, lung, breast, uterine, prostate, and bladder cancers, malignant melanoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and leukaemia) and alive at least one year after diagnosis.


In an analysis that included 19,758 patients, mortality due to cardiovascular diseases overtook mortality due to primary cancer for all nine cancer survivors aged 80 years or more at 2 to 11 years after a cancer diagnosis and after 5 to 17 years for all cancer survivors (60-79 years of age) except leukaemia and prostate cancers. Over a longer period, mortality due to cardiovascular diseases overtook cancer mortality for 6 and 2 cancer sites in patients aged ≥80-year and 60-79-years, respectively. However, cardiovascular mortality did not surpass mortality due to cancer in patients aged 40 to 59 years, except for uterine cancer survivors.


The investigators concluded, “In older survivors of nine common cancers, cardiovascular mortality becomes dominant over mortality from primary cancer, though not always over total cancer mortality, as time passes since cancer diagnosis.”


Strongman H, Gadd S, Matthews A, et al. Does Cardiovascular Mortality Overtake Cancer Mortality During Cancer Survivorship?. J Am Coll Cardiol CardioOnc. 2022 Mar, 4 (1) 113–123.