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Heart Failure Linked to Increased Incidence of Cancer

Last Updated: June 29, 2021.

TUESDAY, June 29, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Heart failure is associated with increased rates of cancer, according to a study published online June 28 in ESC Heart Failure to coincide with presentation at Heart Failure 2021, held virtually from June 29 to July 1.

Christoph Roderburg, Dr. Med., from the University Hospital Düsseldorf in Germany, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study to examine the incidence of cancer among 100,124 patients with an initial diagnosis of heart failure and a matched cohort of 100,124 patients without heart failure from 1,274 general practices in Germany.

The researchers found that within the 10-year observation period, 25.7 and 16.2 percent of patients with and without heart failure, respectively, had been diagnosed with cancer. These proportions were 28.6 and 18.8 percent, respectively, among women and 23.2 and 13.8 percent, respectively, among men. There was a significant association seen for heart failure with incidence of cancer (odds ratio, 1.76 overall; 1.85 in women; 1.69 in men). The association was significant at all cancer sites assessed. The association was strongest for cancer of lip, oral cavity, and pharynx, followed by respiratory organs, and genital organs of female patients (odds ratios, 2.10, 1.91, and 1.86, respectively). For skin tumors, cancer of lymphoid and hematopoietic tissue, cancer of the digestive tract, breast cancer, cancer of the genitourinary tract, and male genital organ cancer, the odds ratios were 1.83, 1.77, 1.75, 1.67, 1.64, and 1.52, respectively.

"Evidence is accumulating to indicate that heart failure patients could benefit from intensive monitoring for cancer development -- for example through screening," a coauthor said in a statement. "Considering the high incidence of both diseases and their impact of the lives of those affected, these patients deserve the maximum joint efforts of cardiologists and oncologists."

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