A new report from the European Society of Cardiology indicates that people who are being treated for cancer are at a higher risk of dying from heart disease or stroke than the general population is.
28 different cancer types were included in this study with data spanning over the course of 40 years, making it the most comprehensive study of heart disease in cancer patients to date. What they found was that more than one in ten cancer patients die from cardiovascular disease. For some types of cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer, that rate goes up closer to 50 percent. These higher rates of heart disease even followed survivors of cancer for the rest of their lives, according to this study.
This begs a very big question: why is the rate of heart disease so much higher in cancer patients than in the normal population?
One argument rests on the concept that cardiovascular disease is already such a prominent threat in our society. It is the number one killer in the United States and other parts of the world, so it already is a force that many of us are dealing with. When cancer is thrown into the mix, it is really easy to put other types of medical care on hold because cancer does pose such an immediate concern. Other aspects of health can be neglected or overlooked, giving heart disease room to step in and take its toll. If someone survives cancer–which is becoming more and more likely with every passing day–then heart disease poses an even bigger threat once the cancer is in remission.
We need to remember that cancer doesn’t just affect the elderly, although it does tend to occur in this population at a higher rate than it does in others. By being aware of some of the risks that cancer can bring along with it, we can do a better job of preventing those issues before they become a life threatening emergency.
This is a reminder that a person’s health isn’t comprised of just one aspect of their life. Cancer might be a big problem, but it’s not the only problem in an individual’s life. A more comprehensive approach to treatment is needed.
That’s one of the concepts that we bring with us to our application of senior care. The people that we work with are complex individuals with needs and desires that go beyond what typical senior care can supply. They have things that they need, like help with medications, transportation, meal preparation, and more. But they also have other aspects of their life. People need friendship, have a desire to attend religious services, enjoy sports, and much much more. Just like we are not one dimensional, elderly individuals in need of assistance are not either.
When you’re planning the care of a family member, be sure to take into account who they are and not just the issues that they are facing. This small step will help make sure that their care is of a higher quality.