Smart Woman: Some Cancer Patients Develop Heart Problems From Radiation Therapy

    Research shows the chest radiation used to treat tumors for cancers like breast cancer and Hodgkin's lymphoma can put patients at higher risk for aggressive heart disease. Now a new Cleveland Clinic study of about 500 people shows patients who had chest radiation are nearly twice as likely to die in the years after heart surgery.

    Dr. Milind Desai says doctors should try to minimize radiation exposure and shield their patients when possible. He also says heart surgeons may be able to use less invasive options.

    "In the higher risk patients we're working on developing new technologies which would not require a full blown open heart surgery," says Dr. Desai.

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