0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

In This Article

Heart tumor: How cancer can affect your heart too
89

Heart tumor: How cancer can affect your heart too

Though the exact cause of a cardiac tumor is unknown, genetics and exposure to radiation could contribute to the risk

 

While the exact cause of a heart tumor is not well understood, experts say genetics could be a possible cause.
Cardiac tumors are abnormal growths that uncommonly develop in the heart tissues.

A middle-aged woman in Delhi had recently developed breathlessness on exertion and went for a heart check-up. On evaluation, she was diagnosed with a heart tumor or cardiac tumor called myxoma and had to undergo surgery immediately. Her cardio-vascular surgeon at Artemis Hospital, Delhi, Dr Sushant Srivastava says myxoma is the most common and primary tumor of the heart. More than 50% of heart tumors are myxoma. However, the incidence of primary heart tumor is uncommon and is about 0.001 to 0.03 percent of all tumors in the world.

Recalling the case, he says myxoma is usually jelly like tumor growth in the heart and is benign. “But in her case, this tumor was large and suspiciously hard. We managed to take all of it out. When we sent the sample to the lab, it turned out to be angiosarcoma, which is cancer. I referred her to a medical oncologist for treatment. Now six months later, she has come back with multiple metastases. She has tumors in the lungs, bones, and other parts of the body,” he says.

What are the first symptoms of heart cancer?

Cardiac tumors are abnormal growths that uncommonly develop in the heart tissues. Dr Devagourou Velayoudam, professor, department of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery, AIIMS, New Delhi, says, “Most often, myxoma is seen in the left side of the heart or the left atrium. It is diagnosed with an ECHO when one develops some cardiac symptoms like breathlessness, fatigue and chest pain or during a health check-up to see if the person with cancer has developed abnormal cell growth elsewhere in the body.”

There are two main types of cardiac tumor: primary tumors originating in the heart and metastatic tumors or secondary tumors that spread to the heart from other cancers like mesothelioma (tumor in the tissue lining the lungs, stomach, heart and other organs), lung cancer, or kidney cancers.

What causes heart tumors?

There are other types of primary cardiac tumors too, which may or may not be cancerous. Dr Sushant Srivastava cites an example of lipoma. “It is a benign tumor, originating in fat cells. It’s usually harmless, unless it grows to a size that it begins to obstruct the blood circulation, but it normally doesn’t kill,” he says.

While the exact cause of a heart tumor is not well understood, experts say genetics could be a possible cause. Dr Ioannis Loumiotis, director of aortic surgery at RWJBarnabas Health in New Jersey, USA, adds, “Exposure to radiation or certain chemotherapy agents may contribute to the risk of heart tumor. Heart tumors are more prevalent in adults, particularly those who have undergone radiation treatment or individuals with certain genetic diseases.”

How serious is a tumor in the heart?

Once myxoma is diagnosed, open-heart surgery is conducted to remove it as an emergency, say experts, as there is a danger of the jelly-like tumor breaking off and its fragments floating in the bloodstream. It can then block an artery of the brain and cause a stroke or block a limb artery and cause gangrene. Most people recover after the surgery and lead a normal life but there’s always a risk of a relapse. The tumor can grow again at the same or another site inside the heart.

Dr Loumiotis adds complications associated with cardiac tumors, contingent on type and size, include heart failure; embolism if tumor fragments break off, affecting the blood supply to all organs including the legs; and arrhythmia leading to irregular heartbeats and palpitations. Dr Devagouru says as the tumor grows, it can keep pressing on the mitral valve, the valve between the left atrium and the left ventricle, leading to a leaky mitral valve.

What is the survival rate?

Life expectancy depends on the type of tumor. If it is benign and is taken out completely, one can have a normal or near normal life expectancy. Dr Srivastava says, “If it is malignant, the life expectancy depends on whether the tumor is completely taken out, whether it has spread to other organs and the grade of the tumor. Some tumors grow rapidly, and they are called aggressive tumors. So, in aggressive cancers, the life expectancy is short.”

Preventing and managing cardiac tumors is challenging but maintaining a healthy lifestyle has been found to reduce the risk of developing any cancer, including cardiac tumors. Experts recommend following measures to reduce the risk of cancer:

  • Minimizing radiation exposure
  • Embracing regular exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Avoiding exposure to industrial poisons

Takeaways

  • Myxoma is the most common heart tumor, which develops usually in the left atrium of the heart.
  • The cause of cardiac tumor is not well understood but genetics or exposure to radiation could contribute to the risk of developing it.
  • Myxoma is a cardiac emergency as the jelly-like tumor could break into fragments that can travel in the bloodstream, causing other health complications.
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle has been proven to help reduce the risk of all types of cancer.

Share Your Experience/Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Summit Registration

NOTE: The summit will be held at NIMHANS Convention Centre, Bengaluru.

Wellness Registration Form

-
-
-
Total Amount INR 3000
Trending

Articles

Article
Some couples consciously decide not to have children despite familial and social expectations, wanting to make the best of their relationship. Children should be had for their own sake, says psychotherapist Tasneem Nakhoda
Article
Insufficient consumption of heart-healthy foods can affect cardiovascular health. Experts discuss beneficial dietary choices
Article
Cycling and walking are both great cardiovascular activities that aid weight loss and keep various health conditions away. Pick one that suits your fitness goals and physical condition, say experts
Article
Summer drinks, though hydrating, can have excess sugar. Nutritionists suggest a few alternatives to keep the body temperature and sugar levels down
Article
Packed with protein, this recipe will help in weight management by keeping you full for a long time
Article
Researchers have found that a quick snooze can improve the retention of information by strengthening memories, leading to better recollection over an extended period
Trending

Articles

Article
Some couples consciously decide not to have children despite familial and social expectations, wanting to make the best of their relationship. Children should be had for their own sake, says psychotherapist Tasneem Nakhoda
Article
Insufficient consumption of heart-healthy foods can affect cardiovascular health. Experts discuss beneficial dietary choices
Article
Cycling and walking are both great cardiovascular activities that aid weight loss and keep various health conditions away. Pick one that suits your fitness goals and physical condition, say experts

0

0

0

Web Stories 

0

0

0

0

0

0

Opt-in To Our Daily Newsletter

* Please check your Spam folder for the Opt-in confirmation mail

Opt-in To Our
Daily Newsletter

We use cookies to customize your user experience, view our policy here

Your feedback has been submitted successfully.

The Happiest Health team will reach out to you at the earliest