Cancer of The Heart: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


Heart cancer is an uncommon and extremely rare problem, but it can still be dangerous if left untreated. Cancer of the heart results from heart tumors such as Angiosarcoma. It can also be spread due to the effect of any other cancer that reaches the heart’s boundary. Different organs and blood tissues commonly spread heart cancer, which is why therapy is needed to remove heart tumors and prolong life.

Although blood pressure is not directly related to heart cancer, various cancer treatments and medications can have various side effects on the heart. So you must be aware of all the risk factors before seeking any treatment to cure heart cancer. 

What is Cancer of the Heart

The most common reason for heart cancer is the uncontrolled limit of diseased cells growing near the heart, resulting in a tumor. Another reason is the spread of other kinds of cancer, such as lung cancer which spreads to the heart and develops heart cancer.

Heart cancer begins from the cells in the heart and extends to the whole heart. The initial stage of the cancer is called primary cancer, and when cancer spreads to the heart is called secondary cancer. The primary cancer is generally considered as “sarcoma” that starts in soft tissues such as blood vessels, tendons, nerves, and muscles.

Let’s know about the signs of cancer of the heart before going into further details

Signs of Cancer of the Heart

The chart below gives information about the signs of heart cancer.

What Are the Types of Heart Cancer

There are several types of heart cancer. Heart tumors can be both cancerous and non-cancerous. According to a study, almost 80% of heart tumors are non-cancerous. The two basic types are included

  • Benign (non-cancerous)
  • Malignant (cancerous)

The table below presents information about the types of the malignant heart tumors

SarcomaSarcoma can be considered a common form of heart tumor that is cancerous and affects people, especially aged people. It also has further types, such as
1. Cardiac Angiosarcoma
2. Cardiac rhabdomyosarcoma
3. Pleomorphic sarcoma
4. Leiomyosarcoma
5. Liposarcoma
6. Fibrosarcoma
7. Osteosarcoma 
Pericardial mesotheliomaPericardial mesothelioma mainly affects men as compared to women and restricts the heart’s motion, leading to cardiac tamponade. This kind of blood pressure spreads to the brain, spine, and soft tissues. One must seek treatment as it is one of the most dangerous forms of heart cancer. 
Primary lymphoma Although primary lymphoma rarely happens, it targets people with weak immune systems on any other problems such as AIDS or HIV. This type of cancer spreads instantly and causes various such problems as
1. Cardiac tamponade
2. Heart failure
3. Irregular heartbeat.

Causes of Cancer Around the Heart

Many factors become the reason for cancer of the heart, but Angiosarcoma is one of the most prominent factors that are cancerous and dangerous to the core. It is a soft tissue tumor that develops heart cancers in people, especially adults. The main cause behind Angiosarcoma is not identified, but some types of toxins and radiation play a key role in this regard. Generally, it is considered primary heart cancer.

The secondary type of cancer is more dangerous. It is also called metastatic cancer, which spreads to the heart and any diseased organ that originates from this problem, such as lung cancer, kidney cancer, and skin cancer. The thymus gland inside the chest is also a reason for heart cancer. Different types of cancer can also become the reason for cancer of the heart.

  • Melanoma
  • Leukemia
  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Kidney cancer

What Are the Symptoms of Heart Cancer

Heart cancer is a rare problem that is not common in all people and happens for various reasons. Cancer of the heart symptoms can be indicated in various ways. Following are a few of the symptoms of heart cancer, such as

Blood Flow ObstructionHeart Muscle DysfunctionConduction ProblemsEmbolusSystemic Symptoms
Blockage of blood flow through the heart  Shortness of breath and swollen legs  Blockage of normal conduction  Pulmonary embolism, Arterial embolism or Embolic stroke    Night sweats and joint pain  
Blood blockage due to the tumor in the upper heart chamber  Chest pain and Irregular heartbeat  Heart skipping beats or the heart beats slow    One-sided facial droop    Fatigue, fever and chills  
Blood blockage due to cancer in the ventricleWeakness and fatigueSudden cardiac arrestProblem in speakingWeight loss

How the Heart Tumors of Cancer of the Heart Can Be Diagnosed

The process of diagnosing heart cancer varies according to the symptoms that can be different for the different sizes of tumors. The diagnosis can be made after knowing the complete medical history and a thorough physical examination of the patient. Various procedures for the diagnosis of heart cancer include the following

Echo: It is also known as an echocardiogram, which has become the most efficient tool for diagnosing heart cancer or heart tumors.

ECG OR EKG: It is also known as an electrocardiogram that keeps a record of the heart’s electrical activity. It detects if the heart muscles are damaged or face any failure.

Chest X-ray: This test is also useful for getting images of the body’s internal organs, tissues, and bones. This is mainly done to detect any pulmonary congestion or enlarged heart.

MRI: It is called magnetic resonance imaging, which gives you images of the structures and organs of the body. It is a definite tool to define the location and size of the tumor.

Biopsy: The small number of tissues from the body is removed in this therapy and examined under a microscope. It is helpful to know if the tumor is cancerous or non-cancerous.  

Blood tests: The other tests for diagnosing heart cancer include the blood tests necessary to become aware of the problem.

Cardiac catheterization: This procedure is helpful to detect heart cancer as the x-rays are taken when a contrast agent is inserted into your artery.

How Cancer of the Heart Is Treated

The treatment of cancer in the heart is determined based on the patient’s medical history, age, and overall health. It also depends on the location of the disease and your preference for appropriate therapy. The other few treatments for heart cancer are as below

  • Open heart surgery
  • Heart transplant
  • Autotransplantation

Final Words

Cancer of the heart is a serious issue and can be prevented by avoiding the most common causes of heart problems. Primary heart cancer can be malignant or benign, or secondary can be metastatic, so there is a need to be aware of the symptoms of such heart problems. The symptoms of the heart tumor depend on the location and size of the tumor and other health conditions. Although the chances of heart cancer or cancer around the heart are rare, it must be diagnosed earlier.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you survive cancer of the heart?

If you do not get any surgical treatment right after the diagnosis of heart cancer, the average expectancy of life is six months. But if you get a successful surgery, the chances of living increase for years.

What are the symptoms of cancer of the heart?

The symptoms of cancer of the heart include night sweats, malaise, fever, change in the color of fingers, and weight loss. 

Can stress cause heart cancer?

No, stress does not cause heart cancer directly, and there is no evidence found that claims to get heart cancer after being stressed.

What is cancer in the heart called?       

Heart cancer is known as angiosarcomas which is the most common primary tumor.

Can a heart tumor be removed?

Yes, the heart tumor can be removed through surgery. The benign tumors are somehow easy to remove, while the complex benign tumors can be difficult to remove.

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