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Childhood cancer survivors may have late effects that affect the heart.

Heart late effects may include the following:

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  • Abnormal heartbeat.
  • Disease of the heart muscle.
  • Congestive heart failure.
  • Increased risk of stroke, blood clots, and chest pains.
  • Tiring quickly during exercise.
  • Coronary artery disease (hardening of the heart arteries).

Certain factors may increase the risk that heart late effects will occur.

The following may increase the risk of heart late effects:

  • Being female.
  • Being young at the time of treatment (the younger the child, the greater the risk).
  • Having other risk factors for heart disease, such as a family history of heart disease, being overweight, smoking, or having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.
  • Having received a stem cell transplant.

This risk may also increase as the amounts of anthracycline drugs and radiation used increase and as the time since treatment gets longer.

Heart late effects may be caused by treatment for certain childhood cancers.

Treatment for these and other childhood cancers may cause heart late effects:

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
  • Central nervous system (CNS) tumors.
  • Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Wilms tumor.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: October 07, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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