A new study shows radiation treatments are more accurate today.
A new study released information that women who have undergone radiation treatments for breast cancer have an increased risk of heart disease. The study has been compiling information since 1958, where radiation treatements were less accurate than today.
The key take away to note from this study, as mentionedy by Dr. Nancy Snyderman on NBC Nightly News, is that "radiation treatments have significantly changed since 1958 and have more pinpoint accuracy than in prior years, reducing the chance for damage to the heart while erradicating the cancer."
By analyzing radiation exposure for every gray (GY) to the heart, scientist have found that the risk of major heart events rose by an average of 7.4 percent – with no apparent threshold, says Sarah Darby of the clinical Trail Service Unit in Oxford, England, who conducted a study of 2,168 breast cancer survivors in Sweden and Denmark. The risk rose in the first five years to as much as 16% and then dropped slightly after that point for the next five years. Post ten years radiation treatments, risk were significantly lower.
The important piece to note is that overall heart health still plays an important part in these numbers. A healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, regular exercise of 30 minutes per day of walking or a comparable effort, and good stress and sleep habits can greatly reduce the risk of not only heart disease but all types of cancers.