DCIS Patients' Risk of Dying From Cardiovascular Disease

October 14, 2013
Naomi B. Boekel, MSc

Naomi B. Boekel, MSc, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, Netherlands, discusses DCIS patients' risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

Naomi B. Boekel, MSc, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, Netherlands, discusses DCIS patients' risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

A large study in the Netherlands found that women who had received radiation therapy to treat DCIS had no increased risk of cardiovascular disease compared to the general population of Dutch women, nor compared to DCIS patients treated with surgery only.

In addition, researchers found that after a median follow-up of 10 years, DCIS survivors had 30% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to the general population of Dutch women.

Clinical Pearls

Boekel theorizes that this could be because DCIS patients adapted their lifestyle after diagnosis, or that there are conflicting risk factors between DCIS and cardiovascular disease (such as age of menopause). Thirdly, there could be a difference in health consciousness between DCIS patients and the general population -- DCIS patients could be generally more health conscious, which is why they went into a screening program and were diagnosed with DCIS, Boekel says.Researchers have several theories about why patients with DCIS had a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease:

  • Patients adapted their lifestyle following DCIS diagnosis
  • Conflicting risk factors exist between DCIS and cardiovascular disease
  • Difference in health consciousness between DCIS patients and the general population