Cancer Survivors Unaware of Cardiovascular Risk Related to Statins

A study published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship found that most cancer survivors were unaware of their personal risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) or potential adverse events (AEs) associated with statins.

Pediatric and young adult cancer survivors previously treated with radiotherapy may not know that they have an increased risk of statin-related CVD. Researchers developed and pilot-tested a risk communication tool for shared decision-making with survivors regarding CVD risk reduction with statin therapy.

The tool was adapted from a previously validated tool. A total of 46 patients (median age, 45 years) were included: 24 in the intervention group who received the communication tool and 22 controls who did not receive the risk communication group. For the intervention group, participants reported on the acceptability of the tool, knowledge questions, and a decisional conflict scale via a survey. Researchers also conducted semi-structured interviews to explore the shared decision-making processes.

Better understanding of CVD risk with communication tool

Most participants who received the communication tool (n=22; 92%) and 50% of controls (n=11) found statin information acceptable, while 31% of the control arm (n=7) selected “not applicable” regarding information provided.

Most participants were unaware of their personal CVD risk or potential statin AEs. Based on the semi-structured interviews, participants found the tool to be helpful in visualizing risk and aid conversations.

“Poor knowledge of CVD and statins and poor recall of CVD risk conversation suggest a need to continue to optimize conversations regarding cardiovascular risk and statin therapy,” the authors concluded.