News Flash > Cardiovascular Health


Heart Risk Elevated After Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

Reported December 21, 2009

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer have an increased risk of cardiovascular events and suicide.

Katja Fall and colleagues from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden found that the relative risks of cardiovascular events and suicide were elevated during the first year after prostate cancer diagnosis, particularly during the first week.

The researchers used the Swedish Cancer Register to identify men 30 years or older diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1961 and 2004, and then searched for information on men's subsequent fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events and suicides from the Causes of Death Register and the Inpatient Register in Sweden. Of the 168,584 men diagnosed with prostate cancer during the study period, 6 percent experienced a cardiovascular event during the year following diagnosis and .08 percent committed suicide.



The researchers found that before 1987, men with prostate cancer were about 11 times as likely as healthy men to have a fatal cardiovascular event during the first week after their diagnosis. During the first year after their diagnosis, men with prostate cancer were nearly twice as likely to have a cardiovascular event.

Because a very few men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer committed suicide (just 136 of nearly 170,000 men included in the study), the absolute risk of suicide is very small. However, the relative risk of suicide associated with a diagnosis of prostate cancer was 8.4 during the first week and 2.6 during the first year after diagnosis throughout the study period.

The authors say that the emotional stress associated with the diagnosis of prostate cancer may lead to higher risks of cardiovascular morbidity and suicide. "The risks are highest during the first week after diagnosis and young men seem to be most vulnerable, the authors were quoted as saying. "These unrecognized consequences of a prostate cancer diagnosis deserve the attention of health professionals to the increasing number of men that are diagnosed with this disease."

SOURCE: PLoS Medicine, December 15, 2009