Changes in cardiovascular disease risk and risk factors among women with and without breast cancer

Cancer. 2018 Dec 1;124(23):4512-4519. doi: 10.1002/cncr.31775. Epub 2018 Oct 6.


Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk is an important health concern among survivors of breast cancer. However, few studies to date have examined whether trajectories of CVD risk and major risk factors are worse among women with a breast cancer diagnosis compared with those without.

Methods: Changes in weight, body mass index, waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, and 10-year CVD risk were compared between women with (813 women) and without (1049 women) an incident breast cancer diagnosis while they were enrolled in the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Sister Study cohort. Blood pressure and adiposity measures were collected by trained examiners at an enrollment visit (≥1 year before breast cancer diagnosis) and a second home visit 4 to 11 years later (≥1 year after breast cancer diagnosis). The non-laboratory-based Framingham risk score, a measure of 10-year general CVD risk, was calculated at both the enrollment and second visits. All analyses were stratified by menopausal status at the time of enrollment.

Results: Women who were premenopausal at the time of enrollment experienced moderate increases in weight, waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, and CVD risk over the study period. Those who were postmenopausal at the time of enrollment demonstrated little change in weight, but were found to have increases in waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, and CVD risk. In both groups, changes over time did not differ significantly according to breast cancer status. Neither chemotherapy nor endocrine therapy were found to be associated with greater increases in CVD risk or risk factors.

Conclusions: In the current study cohort, changes over time in CVD risk, adiposity measures, and blood pressure were similar between women who developed an incident breast cancer and those who did not.

Keywords: blood pressure; body mass index; breast cancer; cardiovascular disease; waist circumference..

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Breast Neoplasms / complications*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause / physiology*
  • Premenopause / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Waist Circumference