Prof. Dimitrios Fotiadis, CARDIOCARE Project Coordinator, University of Ioannina, Greece, has said that women with breast cancer can be enrolled in a clinical trial to reduce heart damage.
In a statement posted on the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) website on Monday, Fotiadis, said that the clinical trial would examine the ability of behavioural and psychological interventions to reduce heart damage from anti-cancer therapies.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), breast cancer is a disease in which abnormal breast cells grow out of control and form tumours.
WHO says that if the tumours are left unchecked, they can spread throughout the body and become fatal.
Fotiadis said that cardiovascular disease was a devastating complication of anti-cancer treatment that affected physical and mental health of patients.
According to him, breast cancer is the most frequently occurring tumour in the EU, accounting for 13.3 per cent of all new cases in 2020.
“It is estimated that one in 11 women in the EU will develop breast cancer by the age of 74.
“CARDIOCARE will provide women over the age of 65 with breast cancer, the tools to improve their physical health and to psychologically adapt to the disease,” he said.
The health expert said that CARDIOCARE project was being conducted by a consortium of European partners, including the ESC.
Fotiadisaid that the five-year EU-funded project aimed to radically change the management of older women with breast cancer.
“A clinical trial evaluating the impact of behavioural and psychological interventions on quality of life, physical and mental wellbeing, as well as the cardiotoxic effects of breast cancer treatment, will be conducted in 750 breast cancer patients at six clinical centres in Europe.
“All patients in the trial will receive the CARDIOCARE mobile application (app).
“Participants will be randomly allocated to receive the app, incorporating the ePsycHeart and eHealtHeart, or to receive the app with ePsycHeart only.
“ePsycHeart will monitor quality of life, mobility and mental health using a wearable chest band heart rate sensor, smartwatch and questionnaires.
“eHealtHeart will encourage patients in the intervention group to adopt behaviours including physical activity, healthy diet, games to improve memory and changing the home environment to reduce the risk of falls,” he said.
The project coordinator further said that another goal of the trial was early identification of women with breast cancer at the greatest risk of heart and blood vessel damage from anti-cancer treatments.
“Cutting-edge technologies such as next generation sequencing will be used to pinpoint changes in gut microbe species that signal damage of the heart and blood vessels before symptoms occur.
“In addition, artificial intelligence will be used to analyse images of the heart to predict the likelihood of heart damage,” he said.
Fotiadis noted that the project would harness the expertise of cardiologists, oncologists, psychologists, molecular biologists, bioinformaticians, computer scientists and biomedical engineers from seven countries across Europe.
He said the multi-specialty experts would improve the monitoring, treatment and care that the patients would receive.
“CARDIOCARE is on track to improve the physical and mental health of older women with breast cancer by detecting the cardiovascular side effects of anti-cancer treatment early and providing digital tools to help patients improve their mental and physical wellbeing,” he added.
A WHO report shows that half of all breast cancers occur in women with no specific risk factors other than sex and age.
WHO said that breast cancer occurs in every country in the world and caused 685,000 deaths globally in 2020.