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Title: Heart disease and lung cancer risks after radiotherapy
Author: Henson, Katherine Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 7744
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Radiotherapy has been shown to increase the subsequent risk of heart disease among survivors of breast cancer, but little is known about factors, other than the dose of radiation delivered to the heart, which determine the magnitude of the risk. In addition, survivors of teenage and young adult cancer are internationally acknowledged as an understudied population, and limited information is available on their late health risks. This thesis sought to utilise the largest observational datasets available to date for these populations: the Collaborative Group on Observational Studies of Breast Cancer Survivors and the Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Survivor Study. These were used to firstly characterise the radiation-related risks of heart disease and lung cancer, and secondly to provide an overview of the long-term risk of heart disease for the entire spectrum of cancers diagnosed in teenagers and young adults aged 15 to 39. Initially, a methodology study and systematic review demonstrated that selection effects and other biases can be very problematic during analyses of observational cohorts, particularly when using a radiotherapy comparison. However, in the case of heart disease and lung cancer, one can take advantage of the breast being a paired organ and use a laterality comparison, particularly when laterality played little effect in treatment selection. This comparison was used throughout the analyses of breast cancer patients. This thesis demonstrated that adjuvant radiotherapy for breast cancer significantly increased the risk of heart disease among women with left-sided breast cancer and those patients with ipsilateral lung cancer. Interestingly, younger women were at the highest risk of heart disease, and a progressive proportional decrease in risk with increasing age at diagnosis was found, which has not been shown before. It also suggested that radiotherapy and chemotherapy combined may further increase the risk of heart disease among breast cancer patients. Survivors of teenage and young adult cancer, particularly Hodgkin lymphoma, were at a significantly raised cardiac mortality risk compared to the matched general population. The findings of this thesis provide evidence to support continued follow-up for cancer patients, as survivors were found to be at a substantial risk into the second or third decade after treatment. It has permitted the detection of groups of individuals at particularly increased risks, for example younger patients and survivors of Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosed in teenagers and young adults, for whom closer monitoring for late effects or measures to reduce the risk, such as adaptations to treatment, may be appropriate. Finally, evidence was also presented to support the development of clinical follow-up guidelines specifically for survivors of teenage and young adult cancer.
Supervisor: Darby, Sarah; McGale, Paul; Hawkins, Mike Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Epidemiology ; Radiation ; Cardiovascular disease ; Oncology ; Cancer ; Survivorship ; Late effects ; Heart disease ; Lung cancer ; Radiotherapy