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Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) linked to Radiation Therapy for Hodgkins

Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2009

If you had radiation therapy in the chest area to treat Hodgkins, please ask your doctor to monitor you for CAD and order a stress test every year with your physical.

Scarring from radiation can cause coronary artery blockage.

If you have any of these symptoms, do not wait: Shortness of breath, dizziness, pain in left arm, chest pain.

My husband had radiation 18 years ago & just had to undergo a double Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) as a result. He did not have any risk factors like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and is not overweight.

I hope this information helps someone else!

hodgkoid2003's picture
Posts: 96
Joined: Apr 2009


Boy... if only I could have gotten that warning before April of 2008. Actually, today, more attention (but not near enough as far as I'm concerned) is finally being directed at late effects of cancer treatments.

While it is great that I got cured of my Hodgkin's, to have almost been taken out because of no follow-up care (a "widowmaker" as a friend put it), basically ignoring a major blockage to my heart (the LAD 90% blocked)like I had, well, it would almost have been like running a world record pace, but no one had the stop watch going.

I hope your husband recovers quickly. And please, let him know, it will take time to heal, both physically and mentally from this. I am one that is always hard on myself, and constantly have unrealistic expectations. Only after meeting other CABG survivors was I able to come to grips with just how long this might take (in other words, I still deal with it).

One other suggestion if I may, try to reach out to a "late effects clinic". There a a few all over the country, but they know what to look for in us cancer survivors, and even though this late in the game, are still able to come up with some sort of plan.

Paul E. (Hodgkoid2003)

Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2009

Paul - Thank you for the tip about late effects clinics; will definitely check that out.

Am glad you are doing well after CABG; the Left Main Artery (aka widowmaker) seems to be a theme among Hodgkins survivors.

Thank you again. Be well!


Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2013


So glad to have survivied an early diagnosis of Hodgkins in 1999 at the age of 34. 

I'm Female, and when we arrived at the ER with chest pain, the doc said I'm in the bracket that is hardest to diagnosis for coronary issues - under 50 and female.  EKG looked good.  Very slight enzyme in my blood, so they kept me over night for observation. 

I had had chest pain for about 2 weeks that I really thought was from working out - but when it was accompanied by light headedness, cold sweat and slight pain in my right arm, I decided to go to the ER...good thing.  I had the LAD with 95% blockage and left after having the MUCH IMPROVED option of the Robotic CABG!!  Anyone who lives where this is an option -- TAKE IT!!  My recovery has been a MIRACLE recovery thanks to NOT having my chest cracked open!  BUT, we have got to spread the word to those we know who have had Hodgkins that they need their docs to know about this increased risk!!  As others have said...I had no medical signs...good BP...healthy...no heart issues...


cathyp's picture
Posts: 366
Joined: Dec 2009

If you are not being followed by your radiation oncologist and/or oncologist, survivors may be unaware of the numerous side effects from treatments, CAD being just one of the effects.  Also, some PCP's,RO's and ONC's are not aware of alll the potential side effects and do not have their patients follow the survivorship guidelines. For me, a stress echo has been part of my followup for 23 years.  Also, seeing a late effect specialist to monitor for all the other potential problems.  I'm hoping you are aware breast cancer is very common for us too (mine was dx'd in 2007).  Hopefully you have been going for mammos alternating with breast MRI's every 6 mos. 

Very exciting to hear of your success with Robotic CABG.  Problems with our pericardium being fibrotic makes open heart surgery complicated for us.  Thanks for spreading the word of your success and cardiac issues being just one of our potential complications.  It's my goal to have all LT Hodgkin's survivors to be aware and to be followed by a Long Term Adult Follow-up Specialist.

Continued good health to you!


hd 1989 & 1994

idc 2007

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