Dr. Hershman on Adherence to Cardiovascular Medication and Cardiovascular Events in Breast Cancer

Dawn Hershman, MD, MS
Published: Wednesday, Dec 05, 2018



Dawn Hershman, MD, MS, professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, Columbia University Medical Center, leader of the breast cancer program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, discusses the association between cardiovascular medication and cardiovascular events following a diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer during the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

When women are diagnosed with breast cancer, it supersedes their other healthcare priorities, explains Hershman. In a study of women with comorbidities over the age of 65, researchers looked at adherence rates to patients’ non-cancer medications. Medications included hypertensives, diabetes medications, and cholesterol medications. These were examined prior to diagnosis and following the patient’s breast cancer treatment.

Results from this study revealed that approximately 20% to 30% of women—depending on the type of medication—stopped taking their medications regularly. This may be due to the patient’s overestimation of breast cancer and underestimation of cardiovascular disease, says Hershman. Women who stopped taking their medications had a higher risk of having a cardiovascular event. Since the prognosis for many patients with breast cancer is good, Hershman explains that it is important to acknowledge and manage a patient’s comorbidities throughout their course of treatment.


Dawn Hershman, MD, MS, professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, Columbia University Medical Center, leader of the breast cancer program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, discusses the association between cardiovascular medication and cardiovascular events following a diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer during the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

When women are diagnosed with breast cancer, it supersedes their other healthcare priorities, explains Hershman. In a study of women with comorbidities over the age of 65, researchers looked at adherence rates to patients’ non-cancer medications. Medications included hypertensives, diabetes medications, and cholesterol medications. These were examined prior to diagnosis and following the patient’s breast cancer treatment.

Results from this study revealed that approximately 20% to 30% of women—depending on the type of medication—stopped taking their medications regularly. This may be due to the patient’s overestimation of breast cancer and underestimation of cardiovascular disease, says Hershman. Women who stopped taking their medications had a higher risk of having a cardiovascular event. Since the prognosis for many patients with breast cancer is good, Hershman explains that it is important to acknowledge and manage a patient’s comorbidities throughout their course of treatment.

View Conference Coverage
Online CME Activities
TitleExpiration DateCME Credits
Community Practice Connections™: 1st Annual Paris Breast Cancer Conference™Dec 31, 20181.5
35th Annual Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium: Innovative Cancer Therapy for Tomorrow® Clinical Vignette SeriesJan 31, 20192.0
Publication Bottom Border
Border Publication
x