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People with heart disease also have a higher risk of developing cancer, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions in November 2019.
Researchers evaluated data from 12,712 people from the Framingham Heart Study who did not have heart disease or cancer at the study's launch. They used a risk estimator that predicts a person's chance for getting heart disease within 10 years.
Over a 15-year period, the researchers found that people with a 10-year risk estimator score of 20% or higher were more than three times as likely as those with a 10-year score of 5% or lower to develop cancer, such as that of the prostate, lung, or gastrointestinal tract. Also, people who later had a heart attack, heart failure, or atrial fibrillation had a much greater chance of developing cancer compared with those who did not have any heart issues.
While this was an observational study, the researchers noted that heart disease and cancer share many risk factors, such as poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and smoking. If you are at high risk for heart disease, you should also be mindful of possible cancer risk, they added.
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