Doctors warn of heart risk from some breast cancer therapies

Published: Thursday, February 01, 2018 @ 8:41 AM
Updated: Thursday, February 01, 2018 @ 8:40 AM


            FILE - In this May 25, 2017 file photo, chemotherapy drugs are administered to a patient at North Carolina Cancer Hospital in Chapel Hill, N.C. Health experts are stepping up warnings as more cardiac side effects of some breast cancer treatments come to light. In its first guidance on the issue, released on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, the American Heart Association urges that women and their doctors carefully weigh the risks and benefits of any therapy that may cause heart damage. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
FILE - In this May 25, 2017 file photo, chemotherapy drugs are administered to a patient at North Carolina Cancer Hospital in Chapel Hill, N.C. Health experts are stepping up warnings as more cardiac side effects of some breast cancer treatments come to light. In its first guidance on the issue, released on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, the American Heart Association urges that women and their doctors carefully weigh the risks and benefits of any therapy that may cause heart damage. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Save your life but harm your heart? Health experts are sounding a warning as potential side effects of a growing number of breast cancer treatments come to light.

In its first statement on the topic, the American Heart Association on Thursday said women should consider carefully the risks and benefits of any therapies that may hurt hearts. Not all treatments carry these risks, and there may be ways to minimize or avoid some.

"We want patients to get the best treatment for their breast cancer," said Dr. Laxmi Mehta, a women's heart health expert at Ohio State University who led the panel that wrote the statement. "Everyone should have a conversation with their doctor about what are the side effects."

There are more than 3 million breast cancer survivors and nearly 48 million women with heart disease in the United States.

"Most people with breast cancer fear death from breast cancer. Even after they survive that, they still fear it," but heart disease is more likely to kill them, especially after age 65, Mehta said.

Some treatments for other types of cancer may pose heart risks, but they are growing more common for breast cancer patients and the statement addressed only that form of the disease.

Here are some questions and answers:

Q: What are the problems and which treatments can cause them?

A: Side effects can include abnormal rhythms, valve problems or heart failure, where the heart slowly weakens and can't pump effectively. Symptoms may not appear until long after treatment ends.

Herceptin and similar drugs for a specific type of breast cancer can cause heart failure. Sometimes it's temporary and goes away if treatment is stopped, but it can be permanent.

Radiation can affect arteries and spur narrowing or blockages. Other drugs can lead to abnormal heart rhythms or artery spasms, which can cause chest pain and possibly lead to a heart attack. Still others can damage DNA.

Some research suggests that powerful new drugs that harness the immune system to fight cancer may, in rare cases, cause heart damage, especially when used together.

"The problem is, no one has this on their radar," so patients are not routinely checked for it, Dr. Javid Moslehi, head of a Vanderbilt University clinic specializing in heart risks from cancer therapies, said when a study reported this problem about a year ago.

Q: What can be done to avoid harm?

A: If heart failure develops early during breast cancer treatment, sometimes therapy can be slowed down or altered.

Certain chemotherapies such as doxorubicin, sold as Adriamycin and in generic form, might be less risky if given more slowly, rather than all at once. Some research suggests that a drug called dexrazoxane may minimize damage if given to women with advanced breast cancer who are getting high doses of doxorubicin.

Q: What can patients do?

A: Women should make sure doctors are monitoring their heart before, during and after breast cancer treatment.

The diseases share many common risk factors such as obesity, smoking and too little exercise, so reducing these can help.

"Make sure you're working on your diet, exercise, managing your weight, following up with your doctor on your blood pressure and cholesterol," Mehta said.

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Marilynn Marchione can be followed on Twitter: @MMarchioneAP

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Alleged Florida high school shooter has $800,000 inheritance, reports say

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 5:23 PM

Reportedly Alleged Florida High School Shooter Has $800,000 Inheritance

The alleged gunman in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting last week in Parkland, Fla., has an inheritance from his adoptive parents worth $800,000, according to news outlets.

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But Nikolas Cruz, 19, who now has a public defender at taxpayer expense as his attorney in his murder case, cannot access the money until he turns 22, the Miami Herald reported.

Cruz was charged with 17 counts of murder last Thursday, a day after allegedly opening fire inside the high school with an assault-style rifle.

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The large amount of money could prompt a judge to review the estate and possibly make the money accessible for Cruz’s defense.

Who Is Nicolas De Jesus Cruz, Alleged Gunman In Florida School Shooting?

The Public Defender’s Office asked a judge Tuesday to review the inheritance, the Herald reported,  to help determine if any of the money can be used in his defense.

The court filing specifically asked the judge to “determine whether the defendant is indigent.”

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Cruz is charged with 17 counts of murder in the deaths of 14 students and three adults, including teachers, in the deadly rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day. More than a dozen others were injured in the massacre.

Cruz was caught shortly after the shooting in nearby Coral Springs, Fla., and taken into custody without incident.

He’s jailed without bond.

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Marco Rubio faces a tough crowd during CNN's town hall for gun reform

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 12:01 AM

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Cameron Kasky asks a question to Sen. Marco Rubio during a CNN town hall meeting at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Rubio was put on the defensive Wednesday by angry students, teachers and parents who are demanding stronger gun-control measures after the shooting rampage that claimed 17 lives at a Florida high school. (Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Michael Laughlin/AP
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Cameron Kasky asks a question to Sen. Marco Rubio during a CNN town hall meeting at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Rubio was put on the defensive Wednesday by angry students, teachers and parents who are demanding stronger gun-control measures after the shooting rampage that claimed 17 lives at a Florida high school. (Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)(Michael Laughlin/AP)

During CNN’s Wednesday night town hall with Florida lawmakers, survivors of last week’s high school shooting and members of the NRA, Sen. Marco Rubio attempted to explain why a ban on assault rifles wouldn’t have prevented the tragedy, and the audience’s reaction was not quite what he was hoping for.

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While explaining what a ban on assault rifles would do, the Republican senator from Florida said to ensure no one would “get around it.”

“You would literally have to ban every semi-automatic rifle that’s sold in America.” A surprised Rubio, who appeared to have been hoping to convince the audience against such an idea, was met with a solid 10 seconds of applause that overwhelmed the room.

“Fair enough, fair enough,” the senator said as the cheers died down.

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The moment came just after a grieving father called Rubio’s reaction to the mass shooting “pathetically weak” and asked whether the senator would support banning assault rifles like Nikolas Cruz’s AR-15 in order to save the lives of children.

“It’s too easy to get. It is a weapon of war,” the father emotionally said. “The fact that you can’t stand with everybody else in this building and say that, I’m sorry.”

A flustered Rubio assured him, “I do believe what you’re saying is true,” before launching into his argument against an assault rifles ban.

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CNN’s town hall follows last week’s shooting at Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School where gunman Nikolas Cruz fatally shot 17 people and injured over a dozen more. In the time since, many of the school’s surviving students have been commanding public attention and demanding a conversation about gun reform in the United States.

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Funeral arrangements for evangelist Billy Graham are set, public viewing scheduled

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 9:55 PM
Updated: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 9:55 PM

Billy Graham Dead at 99

Famed evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, who counseled several presidents and preached to millions of people worldwide, died Wednesday, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He was 99.

Funeral arrangements have now been finalized and a public viewing is scheduled for early next week.

READ MORE: Photos: Billy Graham through the yearsPhotos: Notable deaths 2018Billy Graham quotes: He made Christian principles accessible to millionsBilly Graham named among 10 most admired men for 59th timeMORE 

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Mysterious, unknown humming noise driving residents crazy for years

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 6:23 PM

Residents Driven Crazy For Years By Unknown, Humming Noise

Residents of a Canadian town have been plagued with a bizarre humming noise for years and say it’s completely wreaking havoc on the city.

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The persisting humming has been going on for years and has been described as a similar sound as a truck idling or distant thunder. Some residents even say that the noise has damaged their quality of life and people’s health. Residents have also called the Canadian House of Commons and complained of headaches, irritability, depression and sleeplessness from the noise.

Some residents even claim that the odd sound has been bothering their pets and has rattled windows in their homes.

But it’s not just limited to the city of Windsor, Ontario, either. The New York Times reports that it can be heard on the Detroit River and there have even been reports from McGregor, Ontario, 20 miles to the south.

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But, tracing the origin of the noise has been difficult because, apparently, not everyone can hear it. It could also be difficult to get the government to do anything about the hum as regulations typically only cover decibel levels that could lead to hearing damage or loss. Though, Dr. Darius Kohan, a neurotology at Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital said that it is unlikely a low-frequency hum could cause damage to one’s hearing.

Sleuths have been looking for answers as to where the hum is actually coming from and have reportedly narrowed it down to furnace operations on Zug Island near the Detroit River. United States Steel, which operates the furnaces, have allegedly been “uncooperative and secretive” when it comes to inquiries about the hum.

Though Mike Provost, a resident of the city refuses to give up and has devoted six years to running a Facebook page that focuses on finding the source of the hum and debunking theories about it.

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I’ve got to keep going,” he told the NYT. “I’m not going to quit this.”

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