If the term “heart cancer” sounds a little strange to you, you are definitely not alone. That is because heart cancer is an extremely rare disease, with an incidence rate that is less than .1%. In other words, if there were 100,000 deaths resulting from a heart condition, only 100 of those cases would have been diagnosed with some type of a heart cancer. There is not a great deal of research that has been done on heart cancer, simply because it is an extremely rare condition. But, this article will provide the reader with a good summary of whatever information is available from leading medical sites such as Mayo Clinic and Web MD.
Heart cancer – An Introduction – A heart cancer is generally classified as a Sarcoma which is a cancer that affects the soft tissue in a body. Muscles and blood vessels are the most common types of soft tissue that are found in the body. A heart may also suffer from tumors that are completely harmless, otherwise known as benign tumors. These are not to be confused with a heart cancer. Generally, a heart cancer in a person would have usually spread from another part of the body and it is almost unheard of for a cancer to begin directly in the heart. The most common area from where a heart cancer can migrate is an area in the chest that is referred to as lymphomas.
Heart cancer – What are the symptoms? – A heart cancer will restrict or obstruct the flow of blood into the heart. It might also cause the heart muscle to become stiff or prone to stiffness. Certain types of rare heart cancers can also cause a condition called marantic endocarditis. When a person has marantic endocarditis, the valves of the heart will begin to malfunction. Patients who suffer from marantic endocarditis will usually have to undergo a valve replacement surgery that is quite risky and complicated. Even if the surgery is successful, the patient will often have a very limited amount of time to live as it is a very serious form of cancer that is very difficult to recover from.
There is also another very rare heart cancer called carcinoid tumor. When a person is affected with this tumor, the tumor will begin to produce hormones that will directly affect the heart valves and thwart its functions. Patients suffering from this condition will also often have a very poor prognosis.
Heart cancer – Treatment – Heart cancer treatment is an extremely tricky issue as the fact of the matter is that almost all treatments for heart cancer are also a potential risk to the health of the heart. Chemotherapy drugs and radiation can directly affect the muscles in a heart and potentially cause long term damage to the heart. So, even if a patient responds well to a heart cancer treatment, they will often run the risk of developing problems such as coronary heart disease at a later point in their lives. The coronary heart disease that might potentially affect them in the future will usually be a condition that was brought about by a heart cancer treatment that was done in the past.