Heart Cancer Symptoms, Facts, Treatment


Heart cancer (primary cardiac tumor) is cancer that is formed in the heart. Most types of heart tumors are benign or non-cancerous. The malignant or cancerous tumors that start in the heart are known to be ‘sarcomas’, meaning cancer that begins in the soft tissues of the body. Heart cancer can be constituted as a rare disease. A study confirmed that only 7 in 12,000 death cases were diagnosed with heart cancer.

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It has been seen that cancer in the heart have their origins somewhere else in the body. These can be lymphomas that begin in the chest area near the heart. There are other cancers that spread to the heart, which can include sarcomas and melanomas.

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Heart can cause stoppage of blood flow from the heart, stiffening of the heart muscle or cardiac fibrosis and interference with the the heart valves known as marantic endocarditis. In the case of marantic endocarditis, the cancer can damage heart valves causing them to malfunction. In severe cases, the heart valves may have to be replaced. But this is mostly an advanced stage of cancer. Another rare type of cancer is carcinoid tumor which produces hormones that can impair the heart valves.

Cancer treatments can also affect the heart. Certain chemotherapy drugs — such as fluorouracil (5-FU), high-dose cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), taxanes anthracyclines, , trastuzumab (Herceptin) and interleukin-2 (IL-2 can also lead to heart cancer. Radiation therapy at or near the heart can also cause injury to the heart muscle and increase the risk of coronary artery disease later in life.

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