Heart Cancer Symptoms and Signs

Heart cancer is a rare cancer of this organ. Primary and secondary malignant neoplasms of the heart are distinguished.

Primary cancer is formed from reborn heart mutant cells. The most dangerous and common representative of this type of malignant tumors is considered to be sarcoma, often affecting the right parts of the body. Its rapid growth is noted in a short period of time, disrupting the normal functioning of cardiac activity, the active spread of aggressive metastases to other important organs.

The causes of primary cancer are not precisely established. Factors contributing to the development of the disease are:

  • poor environmental conditions;
  • improper diet;
  • bad habits: alcohol and smoking;
  • heredity;
  • infection;
  • surgical operations.

The disease can be caused by a benign tumor that has formed in the body as a result of surgery, which subsequently, for certain reasons, degenerated into a malignant formation.

The most common secondary heart cancer, which is the result of metastasis – an oncological process – from another organ by hematogenous, lymphogenous route or direct germination.

Pathology manifests itself variably, depending on the location and a number of other factors. 25% of the total number of cardiac tumors become malignant. Among them are primary and secondary. Details on each type are described below.

Among them, the most common are different types of sarcoma. Pathology appears in people of both sexes from 30 years. It is characterized by the appearance in the right parts of the muscle and rapid progression. It spreads to the layers of the heart muscle, veins, arteries.

Are affected by metastases: lymph nodes, lungs, brain. Middle-aged people are more likely to sarcoma. Tumor processes are usually right-sided. They are dangerous for their swiftness.

Varieties of heart cancer are classified in order to determine the origin, dynamics of development, aggressiveness, prevalence. So, if it develops for a long time and is operable – this directly affects the choice of cancer therapy tactics. The TNM classification most fully reveals the localization of cancer formation, and the types of cancer are distinguished by the cytological picture:

  • • sarcoma;
  • • angiosarcoma (spreads through the blood vessels);
  • • rhabdomyosarcoma (registered in the myocardium of the heart);
  • • fibrosarcoma;
  • • liposarcoma;
  • • lymphoma;
  • • mesothelioma (detected in the pericardial cavity).

Different types of sarcoma are aggressive, metastasis occurs through the hematogenous and lymphogenous pathways. Clinical forms of secondary and inoperable cancer are symptom complexes of organ disorders affected by metastases.

Tumor formations that are localized in the myocardial cavity can be either independent pathologies, metastatic in the circulatory system, or developing from other organs.

According to morphology, pathological formations can be:

  • benign (determined in 75% of cases);
  • malignant in nature (recorded in 25% of cases).

There are also pseudotumors, which are represented by blood clots, formations that have arisen under the influence of inflammation, foci of calcification.

Such types of tumor formations develop independently and are described in detail below.

Table 1 – Types of benign heart formations

This form is recorded in more than 50% of cases when diagnosing a myocardial tumor. According to statistics, pathology is recorded 3 times more often in women.

They are formed mainly in the left atrium, but in some situations they can also form in other departments of the heart. Approximately 75% of them have a stem, which often grows through the mitral valve.

Most often progresses in children. It is formed mainly in the tissues of the heart valves and may appear under the influence of the inflammatory process.

Such pathological formations can disrupt the conductivity of nerve impulses, which provokes arrhythmic disturbances and a sudden fatal outcome.

It is diagnosed in 20% of cases of primary neoplasms in adults, as well as in 90% of cases of tumor formations in children. More often, the pathology affects newborns.

Such formations are mainly located inside the septum or wall of the ventricle, which violates the conductivity of bioelectric pulses.

They most often regress as the body develops. However, in a certain proportion of patients, heart failure and tachycardia progress due to a failure in the outflow of blood from the left ventricle.

Kind of tumorDescription
Papillary fibroelastomasSuch a neoplasm is found quite often, but slightly less often than myxoma. They develop mainly on the mitral and aortic valves. Fibroelastomas do not cause dysfunction of the valves, but significantly increase the risk of thromboembolism.
HemangiomaIt is registered in 10% of cases when benign neoplasms are detected. Symptoms are manifested only in rare cases, and pathology is diagnosed during examinations.
LipomaMay occur in patients of any age category. They are localized in the endocardium and epicardium. Most often, lipomas do not show any symptomatic signs, but some can disrupt normal circulation and provoke arrhythmic failures.
TeratomaIt is formed on the pericardium mainly in children. About 90% of such neoplasms are located in the anterior part of the pericardium, and the remaining 10% – in the posterior.
ParagangliomaIt is recorded very rarely, but if it forms, it is localized near the vagus nerve. Clinical manifestations are: an increase in the frequency of contractions, an increase in blood pressure, increased sweating, tremor of the extremities.
PericardialIt is determined during x-ray. Symptoms predominantly do not occur, but sometimes they can provoke coughing, shortness of breath and pain behind the chest.

These education represent a great danger to human life and health. The main types are presented in detail below.

Table 2 – Malignant heart formations

It is characterized as the most frequently diagnosed malignant formation, and is in second place after the mix in terms of prevalence. Most often, pathology affects the middle age group (approximately 40 years).

Almost 40% of all sarcomas occur on the right side of the muscle and affect the pericardium, provoking a violation of contractions of the right ventricle, pericardial tamponade and the spread of metastases in the pulmonary circulation.

There are also other types of sarcomas that form on the left side of the heart.

Kind of tumorDescription
Pericardial MesotheliomaThey are rarely diagnosed and affect patients of all age categories, mainly males. They can provoke metastases to the spine, adjacent tissues and the brain.
Primary lymphomaIt is registered in some rare cases, mainly in patients who have AIDS or other immunodeficiency diseases. It quickly increases and is complicated by heart failure, heart failure and tamponade.

There are two types of cancer that affects the heart muscle. This is primary, which develops directly from mutated heart tissues (found in 25% of cases), and secondary, while another organ serves as the tumor focus, and the heart is affected by outgoing metastases.

The most common primary oncological degeneration of cells in the heart is sarcoma. It is characterized by a defeat of the right parts of the organ with compression of large vessels. Her growth is very fast, with characteristic metastases to the brain, nearby lymph nodes, and lungs. Angiosarcoma is most often diagnosed, less commonly fibrosarcoma or rhabdomyosarcoma. And it is extremely rare to find primary heart tumors such as lymphoma or mesothelioma.

Most often, secondary cancer occurs in the form of metastases from the lungs or mammary gland, kidneys or thyroid, this indicates a far-reaching process in these organs and its severity. The occurrence of metastases in the heart occurs by the lymphogenous or hematogenous route, and sometimes due to direct germination from damaged neighboring organs.

Heart pathology can be located in different places and tissues, and have different manifestations.

Tumors of the heart are divided into primary and secondary:

  1. primary are those that are formed in the heart itself, they can have various forms;
  2. secondary – appear as a result of oncology in the following organs:
    1. Thyroid gland
    2. The mammary gland;
    3. Lungs
    4. The stomach;
    5. The kidneys.

The spread of cancer cells occurs through the lymph and circulatory system. These cells end up in the heart, sprouting into the organ.

What forms of primary tumors are there? Primary cancerous heart tumors are divided into such forms:

  • lymphoma It is rare;
  • sarcoma. This type of tumor is more common. Sarcomas form from the mesenchyme (mesoderm parenchyma) – the embryonic connective tissue (mesoderm), usually in the right heart — the endocardium or pericardium. They develop on the outer surface of the heart muscle, can occur in the cavity of one (several) chambers of the heart or inside the tissues of the muscle itself. Sarcomas occur in men and women over the age of 30. The tumor has the trait of spreading rapidly. Tumor cells sprout through the tissues of the heart and infect neighboring organs. If vessels and valves are found in the path of a growing tumor, they are also damaged by the developing tumor. Cancer cells grow in all major arteries, layers of the heart muscle and veins. Metastases affect the lungs, lymph nodes and even the brain.

Sarcomas, in turn, are divided into several subspecies:

  1. liposarcoma. It is diagnosed in adulthood and is considered a rare subspecies of the disease. The tumor body consists of lipoblasts, the tumor itself is located in the heart cavity and is similar in appearance to myxoma. It affects the atrium and sends metastases to the liver, bones, lungs. It is myxoid and pleomorphic. Histiocytomas, schwannomas are even less common. The formation has a massive soft yellowish body. This pathology responds well to medical procedures;
  2. rhabdomyosarcoma. Its development occurs in muscle tissue, usually in the thick muscle layer of the myocardium. This type of tumor is diagnosed in every fifth patient from the total number of primary tumors. Rhabdomyosarcoma is more common in men than in women. The formation is usually soft to the touch and has a white color. Under a microscope in a tumor node, cells of various types can be examined:
    1. Round;
    2. Spindle-shaped;
    3. Oval and others.
  3. fibrosarcoma. It occupies a tenth of the primary tumors. The formation site consists of fibroblast-like cells and collagen fibers with different levels of differentiation. The formation has a grayish-white color and clear boundaries. Both men and women are equally affected by this disease;
  4. angiosarcoma. This type of primary malignancy occurs in a third of all primary heart tumors. Angiosarcoma often affects men. Angiosarcoma develops from the cells of the mucous layer of the blood vessels of the upper chamber of the right atrium (atrium). The tumor has a dense tuberous structure. In the body of the formation there are vascular cavities of various shapes and sizes. These cavities communicate with each other and contain blood. Microscopically, the tumor is established by round, spindle-shaped, polygonal cells, which are randomly located;
  5. Mesothelioma of the heart (pericardium) – develops from mesothelial cells in the pericardial sac (on the outer heart membrane), usually a malignant course. Three histological types of tumors are distinguished:
    1. Sarcomatous cancer (angioendothelioma);
    2. Epithelioid cancer (adenocarcinoma);
    3. Cancer-sarcomatous type.
  6. pericardial mesothelioma – characterized by invasive growth and the ability to metastasize by the lymphogenous route. This neoplasm is prone to a diffuse, nodular and mixed (diffuse-nodular) form of growth, it is able to cover the heart like a shell.


Tumors are primary of various forms (25%) and secondary, with damage to other organs (75%).

Treatment tactics and prognoses depend on the degree of tumor development in humans. Stages are determined by the size of the tumor, its location, the presence of metastases.

There are 4 stages:

  1. The appearance of altered cells as a result of normal DNA damage, disruption of their division and structure. Stage 1 cancer with a tumor not exceeding 2 cm is considered treatable by surgery.
  2. The occurrence of oncological formations in the places of atypical cells dislocation as a result of their rapid division
  3. The spread through the blood or lymph flow of pathological processes to other organs, the growth of tumor formations beyond the borders of the heart, the occurrence of metastases.
  4. Exacerbation of the condition of the primary focus (relapse). The appearance of formations of a pathological nature in other places. Stage 4 is practically incurable.

To accurately indicate the progression stage, there is a special code system.

The stage of heart cancer does not always play a decisive role, since the tumor in the early, first stage of the course is practically not determined – in 80% of patients, the diagnosis is made in the second and third, and the last, fourth, is practically not amenable to oncotherapy. There are degrees of heart cancer:

  • • 0 – precancerous condition, or in situ;
  • • 1 – the size of the formation is less than 2 cm, the cancer is curable;
  • • 2 – a tumor of 2-5 cm, there are single affected regional lymph nodes;
  • • 3 – oncogenesis grows into neighboring organs and structures;
  • • 4 – there are metastases in distant parts of the body.

Depending on at what stage the disease was detected, treatment will be prescribed, and the prognosis of the disease depends on it.

There are stages of heart cancer:

  • 0 or precancerous stage, it does not have a tendency to relapse;
  • Stage 1, the emerging tumor is less than 2 cm;
  • Stage 2, the neoplasm has a size of 2-5 cm, metastases may occur;
  • Stage 3, the size of the tumor is more than 5 cm, there are metastases in the lymph nodes and nearby areas;
  • Stage 4, the size of the tumor is significant, there is an active metastasis.

Symptoms and signs

And yet, the main and often common signs of pathology can be identified:

  • cough and fever;
  • joint pain;
  • when you click on the fingers, their cyanosis is visible;
  • swollen ankles, stomach and legs;
  • bloated veins are visible on the neck.

At the same time, patients complain of such manifestations in their body:

  • lying down on the side or on the back makes breathing difficult;
  • blood pressure becomes low;
  • fatigue and shortness of breath appear;
  • palpitations noticeably quicker, or characterized by different vibrational rhythms;
  • dizziness and fainting;
  • a nagging pain appears in the chest and a sensation of “coma” is observed in the throat.

In the advanced stage of cancer and in the process of the appearance of metastases, the patient has the following symptoms:

  • at the slightest movement, he suffocates in shortness of breath;
  • systolic murmur appears;
  • cardiac tamponade is observed;
  • acute pericarditis occurs;
  • heart rhythm is broken;
  • heart failure may be noted;
  • on the x-ray noticeable increase in the area of ​​the heart.

The initial symptoms of primary heart cancer are detected only on photographs of echocardiography or computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, on which the formation looks like a round “bump” – as a result, its shape changes. The very first signs, precursors of the onset of the disease, resemble heart disease (myocarditis, endocarditis). Often in the early stages, a heart tumor is asymptomatic, proceeds without obvious characteristic symptoms.

General complaints of the patient include:

  • • arrhythmia, which is expressed in a change in heart rate;
  • • weakness even with habitual loads;
  • • difficulty breathing while lying down, shortness of breath;
  • • loss of appetite;
  • • cough without sputum;
  • • weight loss of 10-12 kg per month;
  • • subfebrile temperature;
  • • sweating at night;
  • • pain syndrome (it hurts behind the sternum, as with angina pectoris, a sensation of pressure, burning is possible);
  • • cyanosis of the nail phalanges with pressure (Raynaud’s phenomenon);
  • • vena cava syndrome, as the right atrium is more often affected; its external visible manifestations on the skin are swelling of the cervical veins, cyanosis, puffiness of the face.

The late symptoms of cancer include:

  • • intoxication;
  • • cachexia, exhaustion;
  • • heart and lung failure;
  • • swelling of the legs;
  • • joint pain;
  • • spots, rashes on the body;
  • • cardiac tamponade leading to sudden death;
  • • effusion in the pericarial, pleural (pleurisy), abdominal cavity (ascites);
  • • symptom complexes of damage to other organs (liver, k >

At the slightest symptomatology, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible. Mortality in this oncological pathology is high, fatal outcome with advanced cancer occurs within 6–8 months, often the cancer is diagnosed at autopsy after the sudden death of the patient.

The following symptoms may indicate the development of a cancer of the heart:

  • the appearance of pain in the chest, joints;
  • dyspnea;
  • signs of vena cava oppression;
  • detection of hemorrhagic effusion in the pericardium;
  • an increase in the chambers of the heart, a violation of the rhythms of the organ;
  • elevated temperature;
  • fatigue;
  • tamponade;
  • swelling of the facial muscles, numbness of the limbs;
  • violations in the activities of the conducting system;
  • severe weight loss.

It is difficult to suspect heart cancer due to the fact that these symptoms of the disease can be confused with the manifestations of other diseases:

  • fever or cough;
  • joint pain;
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon – blue fingers when pressed;
  • swelling of the abdomen, ankles, legs;
  • bloating of the veins of the neck due to poor pumping of blood from the atrium or obstructions that interfere with the free flow of blood from the vessels into the heart.

Also, patients may experience:

  • difficulty breathing when lying on your back or side;
  • lowering blood pressure;
  • dizziness, fainting;
  • sensation of a coma in the chest.

Metastases and a secondary form of oncology give the following symptoms:

  • shortness of breath with minor exertion;
  • acute pericarditis;
  • heart tamponade;
  • systolic murmur;
  • heart rhythm disturbance (tachycardia);
  • heart failure;
  • an increase in the area of ​​the heart line (seen on the radiograph).

Heart cancer symptoms

The insidiousness of heart cancer is that in the early stages of development, it may not appear at all. Signs of the disease can be detected even with a far-reaching oncological process.

Symptoms of primary heart cancer may occur as follows:

  • chest pain
  • arrhythmia;
  • swelling of the face;
  • numbness of the fingers and toes;
  • shortness of breath in a calm state;
  • weakness;
  • dizziness;
  • increased body temperature;
  • joint pain;
  • damage to the nervous system (convulsions, paresis, fainting).

After some time, the patient may experience a sharp decrease in weight, the appearance of a rash on the skin of the upper and lower extremities, a change in the shape of the nails, and thickening of the fingertips.

For secondary heart cancer, signs of the underlying disease, most often cancer of the lungs, breast, stomach, thyroid gland, will be characteristic. Metastases from the site of development of a malignant tumor first penetrate the pericardium, then the myocardium, and rarely – into the heart valves and endocardium. Metastatic manifestations of the disease can be as follows:

  • systolic murmur;
  • arrhythmia;
  • heart failure;
  • tamponade;
  • signs of acute pericarditis.

When carrying out diagnostic measures using CT, CT, X-ray of the heart zone, ultrasound, it is possible to make a diagnosis with a high degree of certainty, determine the location, size of the tumor. It is important to distinguish heart cancer from other pathologies of the specified organ: pericarditis, coronary disease, myocarditis, etc.

An oncological patient using highly sensitive equipment may additionally show signs of the disease:

  • an increase in heart size;
  • hemorrhagic effusion in the pericardium;
  • vena cava obstruction;
  • accumulation of fluid in the lungs;
  • disturbances in the conductive system, etc.

When diagnosing heart cancer, treatment is prescribed, the main goals of which are to inhibit the development of pathology and improve the quality of life of the patient. With the right treatment, life expectancy can increase to several years.

Clinical signs of tumor formations in the heart differ depending on the type of neoplasm, its location, size. The main symptoms are discussed below.

Table 3 – Clinical manifestations of tumors in the heart

Tumor typeEvidence
  • chills;
  • fever;
  • rashes on the skin;
  • sharp weight loss;
  • dyspnea;
  • pain in the chest;
  • tamponade (with an increase in neoplasm).
With development on the surface of the myocardium
  • violation of the conductivity of bioelectric signals, up to a complete blockade;
  • supraventricular or ventricular tachycardia.
  • violation of the outflow of blood from the cavity of the heart;
  • valve malfunction;
  • the appearance of narrowing of the mitral or tricuspid valves.

Diagnosis of the disease at any stage of development can be difficult, since no particularly characteristic signs are found for it. In any case, with an increase in signs of heart failure (arrhythmia, shortness of breath, chest pain) and the appearance of general symptoms of cancer intoxication (weight loss, growing weakness, body pain, constant temperature, liver enlargement), immediate measures should be taken.

Symptoms of such a disease are often combined with signs of damage to the nervous system (paralysis or paresis, convulsions, loss of consciousness). However, with heart cancer, the symptoms can grow so rapidly that they do not have time to provide timely assistance.

Clinically, the symptoms of cancer of the heart depends on the size and location of the tumor and disguises itself as other diseases – myocarditis, pericarditis, coronary artery disease and others.

Secondary cancer in the form of heart metastases occurs against the background of typical signs of the underlying disease. True, there are cases when the first clinical sign of another tumor is metastatic damage to the heart muscle.

Cancer is very similar to a simple heart disease. Symptoms often depend on where the tumor is located, on the type and size of the development. Sometimes the disease develops so quickly that the patient does not have time to undergo an examination with a doctor. During heart cancer, the following symptoms are observed:

  • Fever, weakness, pain in the body; – weight loss;
  • Numbness of fingers and toes;
  • Rash;
  • Chest pain;
  • It’s difficult to breathe;
  • A sharp pain in the heart (periodically)
  • Swelling of the face;
  • Swelling of the upper limbs;
  • Due to vein obstruction, stagnation of internal organs begins;
  • Symptoms such as valve defects are also observed.

As mentioned above, the sarcoma captures the right atrium. Therefore, you should be careful not to make a mistake, because you may think that you have the right ventricular failure. Most often, cancer passes throughout the body through melanoma, lymphoma and leukemia. What are these symptoms? Melanoma is a malignant tumor that most often forms on congenital age spots.

It develops from melanocytes. There are also cases that melanoma originates in the retina or mucous membrane. Such a tumor is considered dangerous and diverges by metastases to almost all other organs. Lymphoma is a tumor that forms on the lymph node. The first symptoms of the disease are swollen lymph nodes. Leukemia, a cancer of the blood, when metastasized to various organs, forms leukemic infiltrates on them. This leads to changes in the organs.

In its symptoms, cancer can be similar to any other disease of the heart and blood vessels: heart failure, angina pectoris, myocardial hypertrophy, etc. Therefore, it is obviously impossible to determine a malignant tumor in the body solely by symptoms.

In the initial stages of development, cardiac cancer is characterized by the periodic appearance of severe pain in the chest area that occurs for no clear reason. This symptom is also characteristic of other pathologies, therefore, when it manifests itself, almost all patients are in no hurry to consult a doctor and begin treatment, which ultimately ends sadly.

When a malignant tumor progresses, one more is added to the signs of pathology: significant malfunctions of the heart rhythm. As a result, the patient develops periodic severe shortness of breath, which occurs for no reason, chronic fatigue.

In the terminal stage of development of heart cancer, the symptomatology is gaining momentum: the patient is rapidly losing weight, body temperature rises by several degrees. With tumor growth, there is a risk of cardiac tamponade, thromboembolism, and bleeding.

If you do not start the treatment of the pathology on time, then the malignant tumor will reach critical sizes, and the patient will experience a % fatal outcome.

cancer Diagnosis

Identifying heart cancer is not an easy task, because they are difficult to distinguish from other ailments of this organ. Also complicated by the diagnosis of insufficient severity of symptoms, and sometimes their complete absence.

The complex of diagnostic procedures includes:

  • studying the history of the disease;
  • definition of elements of a clinical picture;
  • the use of laboratory as well as instrumental techniques.

It is one of the most effective research methods. During the procedure, the size of the neoplasm, its location, the presence of fluid in the pericardium is specified.

With its help, disturbances in heart rhythms are revealed, the function of conduction is investigated. A possible change in the size of the organ is determined.

It is considered a more effective diagnostic method. With its help, the exact location of the tumor, the direction of its growth, is determined.

It is used for additional diagnosis of not only cardiac chambers, but also tissues of surrounding organs. An additional study of the fluid formed in the tumor is used to clarify the diagnosis.

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Research is supplemented by laboratory methods:

  • determination of the concentration of tumor markers;
  • biochemical and clinical blood tests;
  • the study of biopsy materials.

Determination of heart sounds allows timely detection of noise reporting valve damage.

Analytical blood tests make it possible to identify signals such as an increase in ESR, a decrease in platelets, hemoglobin. With a high-quality diagnosis, the area of ​​distribution of metastases is precisely determined.

Unfortunately, often oncology of the heart is diagnosed after death.

Cancer can affect any part (region) of the heart: muscle tissue, pericardium. The left atrium is considered a “favorite” place of spread of pathology. It affects the region of the left ventricle, any part of the myocardium, valves.

A tumor can penetrate inside the chambers or into the muscle mass, disguising itself as other diseases.

Diagnosis methods for heart cancer are limited. Checking suspicion of oncology, detecting a cancerous tumor and giving an opinion is possible only with the help of CT scans, MRI or echocardiography. But examination, auscultation of heart sounds, and finger-finger percussion also show a violation of the heart muscle, therefore, other diagnostic methods are included in the examination to exclude similar pathologies. Spend:

  • • electrocardiogram – it shows violations of the heart rhythm, impulse conduction, signs of insufficiency of the right atrium;
  • • check on an echocardiograph;
  • • laboratory tests (detailed and biochemical blood tests, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, coagulogram);
  • • test for tumor markers;
  • • chest x-ray to determine the size of the heart and mediastinal lymph nodes;
  • • puncture biopsy of the pericardium and cytology of the biomaterial;
  • • computed and magnetic resonance imaging to detect the formation and secondary foci.

For the correct diagnosis of cancer of the heart, the whole range of measures is used, including the study of the history of the onset of the disease (history), the clinical picture, laboratory and instrumental methods:

Listening to heart sounds can reveal the appearance of various noises characteristic of valve damage.

In a blood test, a decrease in hemoglobin and platelets, an increase in ESR, C-reactive protein, and white blood cells are determined.

An ECG can show an increase in the heart, a violation of the rhythm and function of conduction, and in some leads, a decrease in voltage.

Echocardiography helps to determine the size of the formation, its localization and the presence of fluid in the pericardial cavity.

A more detailed study of the tumor can be obtained with an MRI or CT scan.

The study of the biopsy of the neoplasm and the composition of the fluid in the pericardium help to definitively establish the diagnosis.

Disguise in the primary stages of heart cancer for other diseases makes it difficult to detect it in a timely manner. The most common pathology – sarcoma grows so rapidly that in most cases it ends in death. Therefore, in spite of modern methods, heart cancer leads to death of a person 6-12 months after its detection.

Unfortunately, determining the presence of the disease in advance is not so easy. 70% of people who are being tested for disease, already sick and neighboring organs can be affected by tumors. Therefore, modern medicine has invented several ways to diagnose the disease:

  • Echocardiography – with its help, you can see the work of the myocardium, as well as analyze the number of detected tumors.
  • Electrocardiography – determines the pathology of the myocardium.
  • X-ray of the heart zone – determines the number of metastases and their location.
  • Computed tomography – studies the condition of all components of the cardiac system.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging – is used only when it is difficult to determine the diagnosis.

In order to diagnose heart cancer and prescribe a treatment regimen, the patient will need to undergo a series of instrumental and laboratory studies to find this disease, find out the cause of its occurrence and the nature of the course. For this, the following diagnostic methods are used:

  • ECG. This study shows signs of heart hypertrophy, ischemia, rhythm disturbance, but it is non-specific and does not determine cancer.
  • MRI procedure. One of the most effective studies to diagnose heart cancer in a patient. During an MRI scan, the affected organ is carefully scanned for further analysis of its chambers and the structure of surrounding tissues.
  • Echocardiography. This procedure, as a rule, is carried out after cardiac cancer is detected in the patient’s body. The main task of echocardiography is to determine the size of the malignant tumor, to check the presence of fluid in the pericardium, to clarify the place where the cancerous tumor appeared. Sometimes the procedure is performed through the esophagus or trachea to obtain more reliable information.

In addition to the above instrumental studies and visual signs of heart cancer, some laboratory tests can confirm this disease:

  • biopsy test;
  • general blood analysis;
  • blood test for biochemistry;
  • analysis of tumor markers.

cancer Treatment

Pathology is manifested, as a rule, not immediately. By the beginning of therapy, there may already be metastases to other organs.


Doctors use different methods selectively or in combination.

The complex of medical procedures allows you to:

  • reduce the spread of metastases;
  • to suspend the development of pathological processes;
  • contribute to improving the quality of life.

Treatment begins with a full examination and confirmation of the diagnosis. For diagnosis, the following methods are used:

  • visual inspection and listening to the heartbeat, its rhythm and tone;
  • general blood test, which determines the degree of filling it with white blood cells;
  • an x-ray of the heart, revealing its size and tumor growth;
  • echocardiography;
  • angiocardiography;
  • computed and magnetic resonance imaging;
  • radioisotope ventriculography;
  • echoscopy;
  • coronarography.

There are several treatments for heart cancer:

  • Surgical intervention. With the help of special equipment and by brachytherapy and a gamma knife, germinated malignant cells are excised, removing the entire tumor.
  • Heart transplant Perhaps in the case of exclusion of metastasis to healthy tissues and organs.
  • Ionizing radiation. It is possible to carry out at advanced stages.
  • Injection and drainage. Prevent disease progression to other healthy cells.

If the normal functioning of the heart is impossible, the tumor area is partially removed and chemotherapy is performed.

Liposarcoma is cured in combination with chemotherapy and radiation. For secondary tumors, as well as for primary ones, palliative treatment is used.

They have been trying for a long time to find an effective anti-cancer agent. Surgery offers a radical treatment – the removal of a tumor, but with heart cancer it is used only with small sizes of atypia. Surgery is performed under general anesthesia with the use of a cardiopulmonary bypass. This allows you to get rid of the oncological process and defeat the disease, although relapses, repeated episodes, occur after 2-3 years in 30% of cancer patients.

To obtain a stable remission, the doctor’s actions provide for additional exposure with the help of radiation and chemotherapy. But chemotherapy itself is an independent method of treatment for the late detection of cancer and can stop, slow down the oncological process. Recovery after it is 60–70% with a five-year survival rate.

Another operational expensive way is a heart transplant, sometimes it is done in one block with the lungs. Transplantation has many contraindications, as this is an extensive intervention. Difficulties are associated with the selection of donor organs and the fight against rejection, when banal inflammation can cross out the surgeon’s efforts. During treatment, patients take immunosuppressants.

If heart cancer is detected at the last stage, during the decay period, painkillers are prescribed to help ease the patient’s condition.

The methods of therapy differ depending on the type and nature of the neoplasm (Table 4).

Table 4 – Therapies for heart disease

Surgical intervention will be required in the form of removal of the pathological formation. After the operation, it is necessary to regularly do an ultrasound of the heart for 5 years, which will help to timely diagnose a relapse.

Removal is carried out only if there are no concomitant diseases in which surgical intervention is contraindicated. Surgical removal of the tumor most often gives positive results (95% of patients survived for 3 years after surgery).

Fibroelastoma patients may need a prosthesis or plastic surgery on a heart valve. And in the presence of a large number of fibromas or rhabdomyomas, surgery will not bring effect. For such patients, the prognosis is poor – death within 1 year after diagnosis.

Type of neoplasmTreatment
Primary benign
Primary malignantTherapeutic treatment is carried out by the palliative method (radiation or chemotherapy), since the prognosis for such patients is not favorable.
MetastaticTherapeutic methods depend on the factor that provoked the development of the neoplasm. The course of treatment may contain palliative procedures and general chemotherapy.

In the absence of timely treatment, the pathological process can lead to the following complications:

  • pulmonary hypertension;
  • pulmonary embolism;
  • oxygen starvation of brain tissue;
  • stroke;
  • death of tissue of the heart muscle;
  • ischemic damage to the limbs;
  • metastases to other body systems;
  • death.

Symptomatic treatment with a diagnosis such as heart cancer may consist of systemic chemotherapy using cytostatics and radiation (gamma therapy). This allows you to slow down the growth of the tumor and prevent its further spread. After carrying out such procedures, subject to the timely detection of the disease, the patient’s life can be extended for up to 5 years.

At the moment, there are treatment methods in which the effect on degenerated cells is maximum, and healthy tissues are not affected. This is brachytherapy. It consists in placing the radioactive particles directly into the thickness of the tumor growth. And the most accurate and safe way is currently considered a gamma knife. This is a type of contact radiation therapy carried out using a special high-precision apparatus.

In progressive clinics of the world, upon detection of a primary heart tumor, its surgical removal is performed. To do this, the heart-lung machine is connected to the patient, and the affected area is excised with subsequent suturing. If the lesion affects large areas of the heart muscle and valvular apparatus, a heart transplant is performed. Sometimes a larger operation is performed, and the heart is transplanted to the person along with the lungs.

Can I have an operation? Surgical intervention may be superfluous because by that time there could be a lot of tumors. But today, cancer is treated symptomatically – this is radiation or chemical therapy. If the patient is not treated at all, his life expectancy can be from six to twelve months. But thanks to this method of treatment, the life of a sick person can be extended by five, or even more years.

When the first symptoms of heart cancer appear, the patient is strongly advised to undergo a full course of examination, since the effectiveness of the treatment of this ailment primarily depends on the efficiency of medical actions. The course of treatment is built in three directions, which are assigned to the patient, depending on what stage of development the malignant tumor is:

  • Chemotherapy. It is prescribed in cases when the cancer is at an early stage of development, and metastases have not yet managed to infect other organs. The main principle of such treatment is the use of poisons and toxins that adversely affect tumor cells.
  • Irradiation. It is used when it is impossible to conduct chemotherapy and at pronounced stages of the disease.
  • Surgery. If the tumor is positioned so that surgical methods can be used, it is removed by brachytherapy or a gamma knife.

In addition to acting directly on the cause of the disease, certain medications are prescribed (symptomatic, palliative therapy). This method is used exclusively in the late stages of the development of pathology. Its task, unlike other methods, is to maintain the body in a stable state. As for the therapeutic effect, such drugs do not possess it.

Many patients with a diagnosis of “heart cancer” have the question, how many people with this pathology live with the full course of treatment? Answer: the patient’s life depends entirely on the stage of development of the disease. At the zero and first stages, before the formation of metastasis, the prognosis is more favorable. If the patient seeks medical help in the late stages of the development of pathology, then his maximum life will be about a year, even with the use of modern therapy.

Based on this, it follows that it is important to diagnose and treat a malignant tumor in the early stages of development in order to avoid a sudden fatal outcome.

The main methods of treatment for heart cancer are:

  • chemotherapy;
  • exposure;
  • supportive therapy.

These methods of treatment allow you to stop the development of cancer, reduce metastasis and improve the quality of life of the patient.

This combination can reduce the severity of the disease and suspend its course. Thus, the patient’s life expectancy can be increased by an average of 5 years. In addition to this, symptomatic treatment is prescribed to rid the patient of unpleasant symptoms.

The stage at which the disease was diagnosed and the type of cancer determine the type of treatment. At the zero stage, a complete cure of the patient is possible. In the first or second stages, a small tumor is subjected to surgical removal, supplemented with appropriate therapy, which gives a chance for a complete cure.

In the primary myxoma, the tumor is removed along with its attachment site.

Excision of single tumors: rhabdomyomas, fibromas, lipomas, teratomas, pericardial cysts is not performed if they do not interfere with the work of the heart.

Surgery is performed using a gamma knife or brachytherapy.

Sometimes a transplant of an organ damaged by a tumor is required. This takes into account all the risks associated with this (graft rejection). To reduce the risk of side effects and the development of relapse, doctors are testing heart autotransplantation. For this, the organ is removed, the formation is removed and restored to its former place. This method is considered safer, since there is no need for the appointment of immunosuppressants, which can contribute to the recurrence of cancer.

The need for surgery

Due to the rapid spread of metastases, surgery is rarely used. This is possible only in the world’s leading clinics with the early detection of tumors.

According to statistics, operations in Israel are effectively conducted. There is the lowest mortality rate. The diagnosis process in the presence of high-quality equipment is also set at a high level there.

The area of ​​the tumor is excised, the organ is sutured. During the operation, an apparatus is used to artificially maintain blood circulation. After surgical excision, after 2 years, the neoplasm may return.

With the spread of pathology to a large area of ​​the heart, surgical intervention with organ transplantation is possible. In the most difficult situations, a heart transplant is performed along with the lungs.

Heart Cancer Prevention

In order to reduce the risk of malignant processes in the heart, it is necessary to adhere to preventive measures:

  • Be sure to train the heart muscle with regular physical activity. You need to walk more often and, if possible, engage in any kind of sport.
  • Eat right and control your weight. Excess kilograms adversely affect the work of the heart muscle, overloading and injuring it. In this case, fruits and vegetables should be on the menu regularly. Avoid salty, overcooked and spicy foods.
  • Smoking and alcohol should be excluded.
  • You need to constantly monitor your pressure.
  • Any acute chronic diseases should be cured in a timely manner and to the end in order to prevent their flowing into a chronic form.
  • All inflammatory processes also need to be treated on time, turning to the appropriate specialist.

Echocardiography should be carried out annually by patients who are on a dispensary account and persons in whose families there have been cases of heart myxoma. To exclude the risk of heart disease and the detection of cancer in the early stages, it is recommended to be examined 1-2 times a year by a cardiologist and undergo an ECG.

Heart cancer is a dangerous disease of modern man. With the first signs of the disease, you need to consult a specialist. An early examination will help to identify pathology in its early stages and prevent it from developing into more dangerous metastasized forms. In order to prevent heart cancer, you need to get rid of addictions and lead an active lifestyle.

The disappointing results that heart cancer leads to require the development of preventive measures that give a chance to prevent negative processes. Of course, it is impossible to avoid cancer, but the recommendations of oncologists will help protect yourself from the influence of provoking factors.

Doctors recommend changing your lifestyle:

  • • exclude smoking, alcohol;
  • • go in for sports; when doing sedentary work, do warm-up periodically;
  • • do not overwork, avoid stress;
  • • observe the regimen of the day and sleep;
  • • eat right, eat food with a lot of fiber, saturated with vitamins and minerals;
  • • regularly attend preventive examinations by a doctor.

When excising single benign tumor formations, a favorable prognosis is given in 95% of cases. However, such patients will need to be regularly observed by a cardiologist to avoid complications. If there are several tumors, then the prognosis is less favorable and amounts to only 15% for the next 5 years.

When diagnosing primary malignant neoplasms and metastasis, the prognosis worsens significantly, since no treatment methods have the desired effect.

Since the nature of the disease is not completely determined, no special preventive measures are provided.

Tumors in the heart are a dangerous pathological condition that requires prompt treatment. If education continues to develop, it will entail dangerous consequences that can be fatal. If you find the first symptoms, you must consult a doctor for a full examination.

All healthy people should be given prophylaxis. This includes timely treatment of infectious diseases so that they do not become chronic. It is also clear that all inflammatory processes can be cured (they greatly contribute to the spread of cancerous tumors). Include in your life – sport. Do sports loads (it is recommended to train your heart).

You should also reconsider your diet – eat as little fatty foods and more fruits as possible. Elderly people need to measure blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. Everyone is advised to keep their weight normal and give up bad habits such as smoking and excessive drinking. Take care of your heart!

To prevent heart cancer, the following measures should be taken:

  • go in for sports (for training the heart muscles and strengthening immunity);
  • treat acute infectious diseases, prevent their development to a chronic form;
  • maintain optimal weight with proper nutrition;
  • stop smoking and drinking alcohol;
  • reduce cholesterol and blood sugar by eating fruits and vegetables and excluding fatty, spicy, salty, fried foods;
  • control pressure;
  • regularly undergo preventive examinations by specialists.

Forecasts and Prevention

The prognosis is poor if untreated. A fatal outcome can occur a year or even 6 months after the onset of the first symptoms.

The development of heart cancer is opposed by a healthy lifestyle, positive thoughts, constant care to strengthen the immune system.

  • healthy lifestyle, strengthening immunity;
  • stress avoidance;
  • timely control of infectious diseases;
  • the use of special vitamin complexes.

A healthy heart is a source of oxygen for all organs and systems of the body.

Cancer is a dangerous disease, in most cases with a poor prognosis. Treatment can only be done at an early stage. Later, the only opportunity that therapy provides is to prolong the patient’s life.

How many live with a diagnosis of heart cancer? The prognosis in the initial stages may be optimistic. If heart cancer is detected before metastasis occurs, the patient’s life may be increased to five years. In the last stages from the moment of diagnosing the disease, the patient dies within a year, despite the ongoing therapy.

It was found that 2-year survival is:

  • at stages 0 and 1 – 8,3%;
  • at 2 stages – 3%;
  • at stages 3-4 – 0,9%.

With sarcomas, life expectancy from the moment of diagnosis is as follows:

  • 6-11 months (angiosarcoma);
  • 1 year – rhabdomyosarcoma of the 1st and 2nd stages, for 3 and 4 – less than 1 year after removal of the neoplasm, concomitant radiation and a course of chemotherapy;
  • 6-8 months (liposarcoma).

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Svetlana Borszavich

General practitioner, cardiologist, with active work in therapy, gastroenterology, cardiology, rheumatology, immunology with allergology.
Fluent in general clinical methods for the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, as well as electrocardiography, echocardiography, monitoring of cholera on an ECG and daily monitoring of blood pressure.
The treatment complex developed by the author significantly helps with cerebrovascular injuries and metabolic disorders in the brain and vascular diseases: hypertension and complications caused by diabetes.
The author is a member of the European Society of Therapists, a regular participant in scientific conferences and congresses in the field of cardiology and general medicine. She has repeatedly participated in a research program at a private university in Japan in the field of reconstructive medicine.