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heart concerns

littlejulie's picture
Posts: 311
Joined: Mar 2004

Hi there,
My mother had stage 3 rectal cancer in July of last year. She is looking and feeling great. After running some tests by her family doctor it was discovered she has an irregular heartbeat. She will be doing more testing. Has anyone had this after chemo and radiation? The doctor didn't seem overly concerned or worried but thought it should be looked into. It could be the result of many things ie. stress, low iron, chemo, medication etc.

Any thoughts?


spongebob's picture
Posts: 2599
Joined: Apr 2003

Julie -

I know that in my case, my potassium levels were pretty low after chemo. As I recall potassium plays an important role in the body's electrical functions - which is te system that regulates the heartbeat. Is there a connection?

I will keep you guys in my prayers.


- SB

littlejulie's picture
Posts: 311
Joined: Mar 2004

Thanks Spongebob and Lisa. My mother was always told she had an slow heartbeat. I've been told many people have an irregular heartbeats. My mother feels really good and LOOKS FANTASTIC! I guess they are just keeping a close eye on her and I have to be thankful for that.

scouty's picture
Posts: 1976
Joined: Apr 2004

Did your Mom get Avastin with her chemo? It messes with the blood and heart. Sponger is correct about chemo and potassium (Vitamin K). Folic acid (folate as some call it) is great for women to help us better absorb and utilize iron. Iron supplements don't really do much good, unless it has lots of other stuff in it to help your body synthesize it. With having children and our monthly cycles, women's blood is usually not as good as it can be. Raisins have lots of good iron in them. I eat a few handfuls every day along with almonds and walnuts. I know they are fattening, but I have found if I munch on a handful before meals (like an appetizer), I don't eat as much dinner. Spinach is another good source of iron and loads of other stuff too.

Lisa P.

Kanort's picture
Posts: 1275
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi Julie,

I think my friends have helped you with your question. I'm sorry that I can add any new information other than you and your fiance are both precious. I saw your picture on the semicolon blog!

I hope that your mom's problem resolves itself.



MJay's picture
Posts: 132
Joined: Aug 2004

Hi Julie~ Way before cancer I was diagnosed with Mitral Valve Prolapse... a very common heart valve issue that most people don't even know they have it. I knew I had it because I had heart palpitations if I didn't take my extra magnesium supplement. While I was going through chemo I started to have multiple heart palpitations a day. They got to be scary because I began to feel as though I would pass out. I gave some WalMart employees a good scare one day when a huge palpatation came on in the middle of the yarn aisle. The oncologist poo-poo'd it. But, funnily enough, once I stopped chemo my palpations stopped soon thereafter. And guess what?? I don't take extra magnesium anymore.

Keep looking into it. It could be something as simple as a mineral supplement.


kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hiya Jules. Not sure if you remember but back in august last year I had some heart symptoms. Chest pain, dizziness, pain, weakness in left arm, general feeling of unwell. I was battered with many heart tests over 5 weeks. ECG'S with excersise stress tests, thallium stress tests and MRI's as well as blood tests....you name it. The overall outcome was I had some high BP and high cholesterol. My oncologst said it is not unusual for chemo to unsettle the heart even withhout the high cholesterol. For a while he was concerned as heart failure is a family trait, my father passing from a heart attack at 41. Overall the view was that in "some" chemo patients there can be some unwanted side effects with the heart but these usually settle down with or without medication. As the oncologist told me..generally if there is no history of heart problem in the immediate family they(doctors) never get very concerned especially if a patients general health is good. Having said that there is always room to get things checked out to be sure.
Give mum our love.....and huggs for you too Julie, kanga n Jen

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