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Strokes And Heart Attacks Could Be Early Warning Signs For Cancer

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Heart attack and stroke in older adults can be an early sign of cancer development, reveals recent study. 

This is the first time that such a large-scale methodical evaluation of cardiovascular events prior to cancer diagnosis has been conducted. A team of researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City revealed their findings published online on Dec. 21 in journal Blood.

Association Between Heart Attack And Development Of Cancer

"Our data show there is an associated risk of ischemic stroke and heart attack that begins to increase in the five months before the cancer is officially diagnosed and peaks in the month just before," said lead study author Babak Navi, MD, MS, an associate professor of neurology in the Department of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine.

According to Dr. Navi, these results suggest that impact of cancer on the clotting system is the primary reason behind the increased risk of heart attacks and stroke. It also defines exactly when the risk starts and what will be its magnitude.

The Warning Signs And Future Prospects

The study findings suggest that the people who recently suffered from a heart attack or stroke should remain updated with age- and gender-related cancer screenings. Additionally, a heart attack and stroke combined with other warning signs such as weight loss or anemia should be considered for cancer screening.

Dr. Navi and his team of researchers are planning to do a future study to gain deeper insight into the imaging of blood biomarkers that could identify the warning signs in cancer patients with arterial thromboembolism. They also want to understand the utility of body CT imaging or more such cancer screening tools, especially in patients with inexplicable heart attacks or strokes. Dr. Navi believes that this will help his team isolate the root cause of arterial thromboembolism in cancer patients.

These further studies and deeper understanding will also help researchers come up with strategies that can help in their treatment.

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