One of the most important parts of the body we have to take very good care of is our heart. This particular body part pumps out blood throughout our body, providing the oxygen and nutrients supplies needed by our body. It also removes carbon dioxide (CO2) and additional wastes. Fortunately, our heart has a distinction i.e. has a close immunity to cancer. That is why a heart cancer where the disease starts and develops in the heart is something extremely rare.
Table of Contents
- 1 A Brief on Heart Cancer Facts
- 2 Symptoms of Heart Cancer
- 3 What Are the Causes of Heart Cancer?
- 4 How to Diagnose Heart Cancer?
- 5 Types of Heart Cancer in Humans
- 6 How to Treat Heart Cancer?
- 7 The Complication of Heart Cancer
- 8 Outlook for Heart Cancer
A Brief on Heart Cancer Facts
Heart cancer is an exceptional case to find. The disease which is also known as cardiac cancer seems to be unlikely to occur in common. Here is the explanation on the particular matter:
The fact that our dividing body tissues throughout the time create a risk of both malignant (cancerous) and benign (noncancerous) cell growth. Both malignant and benign cell growth may develop and cause some unwanted problems. However, please notice that before a cancerous cell becomes fatal and invasive, it normally undergoes numerous mutations. The majority of mutations take place when the cell is replicating and dividing its DNA. Nevertheless, given that the heart cell is not dividing nor replicating, any heart cancer stages are unlikely to happen.
Symptoms of Heart Cancer
As has been stated above, both benign and malignant heart tumors may cause problems and symptoms which usually reflect the size, structure and location of the tumors. Thus, the symptoms usually imitate other heart conditions such as heart failure. One needs an echocardiogram test to distinguish cancer from other heart disorders.
The following is common symptoms of primary cardiac cancer one may experience:
Dysfunction of Heart Muscle
When there is a growing tumor on the heart’s muscular wall, they may be unable to maximally pump blood due to the stiffness of the muscular muscle. This condition may similar to the condition of heart failure (cardiomyopathy). The patient may show the following symptoms: swollen legs, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, and weakness
Blood Flow Obstruction
When a tumor grows through a heart valve or into the heart chambers, it can block blood flow coming through the heart. The symptoms may include: dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath and fatigue
When a tumor breaks off, it can travel from our heart to other parts of the body and stay in an infinitesimal artery. Here are the common symptoms depend on the location of embolus:
- Brain: one-sided facial droop, paralysis or weakness on one part of the body, speaking and writing problems and confusion.
- Lung: sharp chest pain, irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath
- Leg or arm: painful, pulseless and cold limb.
One or two primary cardiac tumors may ignite nonspecific symptoms, imitating an infection with symptoms like fatigue, weight loss, chills and fever, joint pain.
What Are the Causes of Heart Cancer?
The reasons why some people suffer from heart cancer and others don’t are still unknown. Here are some risk factors for a number of heart cancer types:
- Age: Heart cancer age range may vary, depends on its types. Some commonly occur in adults; certain types of cardiac tumors tend to attack babies and children.
- Heredity: some people have a family history of the particular ailments
- Genetic Cancer Syndrome: children with rhabdomyoma i.e. a rare genetic syndrome that causes benign tumors to grow in vital organs such as brain due to the alteration in the DNA.
- Damage Immune System: People with a poor immune system are prone to any cancerous tumors.
How to Diagnose Heart Cancer?
Most of the patients with cardiac tumors do not show any significant symptoms until the tumors become bigger and bigger. It is quite difficult to diagnose heart cancer, given that the case is rare.
However, there are some common tests used to diagnose a cardiac tumor such as:
- CT Scan: The images from a CT Scan test may help doctors to differentiate benign tumors from malignant ones.
- MRI: the test offers more thorough pictures of the tumor, to help doctors determine its type.
- Echocardiogram: This kind of test is the most common one to use by doctors to diagnose, plan, treat and follow up the patient with a cardiac tumor. The sound used to complete the test provides us with moving images of the function and structure of the heart.
Types of Heart Cancer in Humans
There are two types of cardiac tumor or heart cancer i.e.
Benign Cardiac Tumors
The following are examples of benign heart cancer to consider:
This is the most common type of primary heart tumor that grows in the heart and lives in there. Men tend to be affected more with this illness. The good news is that only 10 percent of them are malignant. This kind of disease usually stays in the upper left atrium of the heart.
It typically attacks children and infants who have a genetic cancerous syndrome. The tumor commonly located in the free wall or septum of the left ventricle that affects the cardiac passage system.
Mostly affect children and is related to kidney and skin tumors.
The tumors are frequently glued to the base of the great vessels and occur mostly on children and infants.
This type of tumor can grow at a wide range of ages. It starts in the epicardium or endocardium with an immense pedunculated base.
It is a tissue overgrowth in the cardiac valves which is considered as something common. Doctors will have it removed if the patient shows some symptoms, or it grows bigger and cause several symptoms.
Malignant Cardiac Tumors
The following are examples of malignant heart cancer:
This is the most common tumor that affects adults who are 44 years old. It primarily originates in the right atrium and engages the pericardium that causes an obstruction on the right ventricular inflow tract and lung metastasis.
- Primary Lymphoma
It is a very rare case and usually affects patients who suffer from immunodeficiency and ones with HIV/AIDS. The tumor expands fast that may cause a superior vena cava syndrome, a heart failure, and cardiac tamponade.
- Pericardial Mesothelioma
This type of tumor is also a rare case. Any people from both genders and from all ages may suffer from this ailment. It can metastasize to the brain, neighboring soft tissues, and the spine.
How to Treat Heart Cancer?
Treatments for cardiac tumors are intended to manage symptoms and enhance the patients’ life quality. However, if it is possible, then, the ultimate objective of cardiac cancer treatment is to make sure that there is no sign of it in the body though it may relapse later. In short, the treatment is to cure cancer permanently.
There are some common treatments for heart cancer as follows:
doctor should he has to consume homeopathic remedies and nutritional supplements so that they will not interact with medical therapy prescribed by the doctor.
Here are examples of complementary or alternative treatments:
- Massage Therapy
- Herbal remedies, nutritional dietary supplements, tea beverages, and other similar products
The Complication of Heart Cancer
In some cases, the complication of heart cancer could be life-threatening and very serious. Similar to other cancerous cells, heart cancer can also spread to the adjacent organs. Some tumors may even break and carried into our blood circulation that can cause an embolism. This condition can cause body limbs and other vital organs to suffer from lacking oxygen.
The following are some possible complications of heart cancer:
- Tumor emboli
- Heart failure
- The spreading of cancer
- Abnormal heart rhythms
Outlook for Heart Cancer
Even though heart cancer is an extremely rare case to happen, heart cancer survival rate is less than 50 percent. A patient that suffers from this disease for one year has only a 46 percent survival rate. While those who suffer heart cancer for three years have only 22 percent to survive. 17 percent of the survival rate is for those who have already suffered from this disease for five years.
Hopefully, the above information is helpful for people who look for information on heart cancer.