Connecting The Dots Between Prostate Cancer And Cardiovascular Disease
Last updated: May 2023
My father is a prostate cancer survivor for fifteen-plus years now. I've learned that managing your health is about more than just having one diagnosis. I was shocked to discover that there are potential links between prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease. So, today, I wanted to share some experiences and what I've learned about this connection.1-3
Heart health and prostate cancer
When my father was first diagnosed with prostate cancer, I didn't think much about other health issues that he had. I was so focused on fighting this cancer diagnosis that everything else just slipped my mind. I didn't realize how it could affect his heart health at all. But I learned later that it could.1-3
One risk factor for both prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease is age. My father is very “aged.” As he gets older, his risk for both diseases can increase. Other risk factors of cardiovascular disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. He has them all, aside from obesity (he is 120 pounds soaking wet). So, if you're a prostate cancer survivor or currently undergoing treatment, it can be important to keep an eye on your heart health as well.4
There are some specific treatments for prostate cancer that can also impact cardiovascular health. For example, androgen deprivation therapy is a common treatment for prostate cancer. This has the potential to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. We discussed this with his doctor at length. That's why it can be important to talk to your doctor about any potential risks and make sure they're monitoring heart health throughout treatment.1-3
Managing the risks
So, what can one do to manage the risk of cardiovascular diseases as a prostate cancer survivor? Similar things that are recommended for everyone, really. Eating a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking can all be potential ways to keep the heart healthy.5
I've also found it helpful to track my father's blood pressure, which seems to run high all the time. His cholesterol levels are checked regularly. I would take notes and talk to his doctor about any concerns I had.
My father is very elderly, so if he was experiencing any symptoms like chest pains or shortness of breath, I would not ignore them at all. I knew these could be signs of a heart problem, and it was essential to get medical attention right away. His life has brought him loads of mental and physical health issues at times. These illnesses have shaped both of us to be the people we are today. We are both better for it.
Keeping our hearts strong
Overall, I think it's important to be aware of prostate cancer and cardiovascular diseases. My father is a prostate cancer survivor. We can take steps to manage his risk and keep his heart as healthy as possible.
Don't forget to talk to your doctor, and keep track of your health. Let's fight prostate cancer together and keep those hearts strong.
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