Heart cancer symptoms diagnostic and treatment methods

A rare disease that is often diagnosed after the death of the patient. It must be remembered that a healthy lifestyle, a positive attitude will help strengthen the body’s immunity – the main internal doctor, who does not allow failures leading to the formation of heart cancer.

Cancer of the heart can indicate a tumor inside the chambers; it can also be a lesion of an organ muscle.

Myocardial oncology can go unnoticed for a long time, disguising itself as other heart diseases.

Symptoms of the disease begin to cause concern to the patient when metastases are detected.

Pathology is rare. This is due to activity, which is due to the functional purpose of the chambers and other structural components of the heart. Blood circulation and metabolism in tissues are usually at a high level.

Pathology has different manifestations, locations, is based on different tissues.

  • Primary tumors – pathology formed in the heart; It has various forms, depending on which cells of the tissues fell ill with atypism and triggered the oncological process.
  • Secondary tumors – cancer of neighboring organs or those located more distant from the heart, has delegated its presence to its area.

Primary formations make up a quarter of all cancerous heart diseases. They come in different forms:

  • sarcoma is a common type of tumor
  • lymphoma – is rare in the heart.

Sarcoma is more common in middle-aged people. The right departments fall under tumor processes to a greater extent than the left side.

Sarcoma is dangerous by the rapid growth of the tumor body. Abnormal cells can grow through the tissues of the heart and infect neighboring organs. Valves, vessels that are found along the pathology pathway, are damaged to varying degrees by a growing tumor.

Sarcomas also have several subspecies:

  1. Liposarcoma – occurs in adulthood and is a rare case. The body of the tumor is made up of lipoblasts. Liposarcoma is located in the cavity of the heart and has an external resemblance to myxoma. Education can create a massive body, the color of which is usually yellow. The tumor has a soft consistency. This type of pathology is responsive to medical procedures.
  2. Rhabdomyosarcoma – originates in muscle tissue. The tumor is a soft-touch formation of white. If you look at the node in a microscope, then several types of cells are found in its composition:
    • spindle-shaped
    • round,
    • oval
    • and others.

This type of pathology is rare. In the total number of primary tumors, rhabdomyosarcoma occurs in every fifth patient. In men, this kind of heart tumor is somewhat more common than in women.

  • Fibrosarcoma – makes up a tenth of the primary tumors. It is a formation with clear grayish-white borders. The node has collagen fibers and fibroblast-like cells with different degrees of differentiation.
  • Angiosarcoma – according to statistics, this species occupies a third of all primary heart tumors. It affects more often than men. Education has a rough structure of a dense constitution. The presence of vascular cavities in the body of the formation, which have different shapes and sizes, is inherent in this type of tumor.
  • Photo of heart cancer

    Tumors in the region of the heart of secondary origin are much more common. They can appear as a result of oncological processes in the following organs:

    • stomach
    • mammary gland
    • kidneys
    • thyroid gland
    • lungs

    The spread of cancer cells occurs through the lymph, as well as through the circulatory system. Cancerous tissues enter the heart, sprouting into the organ.

    Today, science does not know the exact causes of cancer in the heart.

    Primary formations can be triggered by the phenomena:

    • the degeneration of myxoma (a benign tumor), which, in turn, can occur after surgery on the organ;
    • as a result of toxic effects,
    • be a consequence of an infectious disease,
    • due to the harmful effects caused by smoking and alcohol.

    Secondary oncological tumors arise as a result of the spread of oncology, which has developed in other organs beyond their borders. Metastases can grow into the region of the heart from the nearest organs and those located more distantly.

    The following signs indicate a possible cancerous lesion of the heart:

    • the appearance of pain in the chest,
    • shortness of breath,
    • symptoms of vena cava oppression,
    • enlarged heart chambers,
    • fever
    • rhythm disturbance in the work of the heart,
    • fast fatiguability,
    • hemorrhagic effusion is found in the pericardium,
    • swelling of the muscles of the face,
    • disturbances in the conductive system,
    • tamponade
    • significant weight loss
    • sudden death.
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    Stages of development

    The prognosis and treatment tactics depend on the extent to which a cancer tumor has developed.

    There are four stages:

    • The appearance of altered cells, which were the result of damage to DNA cells and their subsequent random division. Such a violation is attributed to the first stage.
    • The formation at the site of the appearance of atypical cells of an oncological formation is the second stage of the disease.
    • The spread of the disease to other organs with lymph flow or through the blood. Germination of a cancerous tumor outside the heart – metastases are referred to the third stage of the disease.
    • The primary focus is in a state of exacerbation. At the same time, the appearance of new pathological formations in other places is observed. The development of the oncological process is to such an extent determined as the fourth stage of the disease.


    Cancer of the heart is difficult to determine. This is due to the fact that its manifestations are similar to other heart diseases. Therefore, several methods are used to diagnose the problem.

    • An ECG is an informative test that shows if there are any abnormalities in the rhythms of the heartbeat. You can also get information about the state of the conductivity function.
    • MRI – shows the state of the chambers of the heart and surrounding tissues and organs. CT will also add detailed information, including information about abnormalities in hard tissues. These methods are necessary if a controversial issue has occurred.
    • Echocardiography is one of the main methods for clarifying:
      • location of cancer
      • determine the size of the tumor,
      • clarification of the presence of fluid in the pericardial area.
    • Laboratory research:
      • To clarify the diagnosis, a biopsy test is performed,
      • blood sampling for clinical analysis and biochemical studies,
      • oncomarkers.

    In the initial stages, heart cancer is most often not detected. By the beginning of the treatment process, the tumor may have many metastases to other organs. Therefore, surgery in most cases do not.

    The main methods of treatment:

    • chemotherapy,
    • irradiation
    • supportive therapy.

    • slow down the development of pathology,
    • reduce metastasis,
    • improve the quality of life of the patient.

    If heart cancer is detected before the appearance of metastases, it is possible to extend the patient’s life to five full years. In advanced cases, the patient from the moment of diagnosing the pathology dies throughout the year, despite the treatment.

    In the case of removal of the tumor by surgery, the formation of a new cancer tumor is possible within two years.

    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, kidneys, lungs, brain).

    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.

    Causes of Heart Cancer

    Most often, heart cancer occurs in patients from 30 to 50 years old against a background of poor environmental conditions, bad habits, as well as a hereditary factor. Great influence on the formation of tumors has the use of food with a large number of carcinogens. In addition, diseases such as thrombosis and atherosclerosis increase the likelihood of developing a malignant tumor.

    The primary neoplasm initially develops from the tissues and membranes of the heart. Most often it is a sarcoma, which, constricting the vessels, creates a barrier to blood flow in the coronary arteries and veins. It is distinguished by the rapid development and occurrence of metastases in nearby lymph nodes, lungs and mammary glands. A secondary tumor is much easier to diagnose, since initially cancer develops in other organs and only at the end progresses to the heart. This indicates a severe damage to the human body and makes up three quarters of all possible cases.

    The development of cancerous tumors in the body occurs due to the uncontrolled division of mutated epithelial cells. Such neoplasms can be either benign, which do not cause harm, but require medical supervision, and malignant, leading to death without proper treatment.

    Today, scientists disagree about the reasons for the development of oncology of the heart muscle. Primary formations may arise due to such phenomena:

    • toxic effects on the body;
    • degeneration of a benign tumor that has arisen against the background of surgical intervention;
    • infectious diseases;
    • smoking; alcohol abuse;
    • genetic predisposition;
    • the presence of aberrant growths;
    • disruption of the immune system, due to which it becomes unable to detect cellular mutations and abnormalities.

    The emergence of secondary tumors occurs as a result of the spread of oncology beyond the organs. Heart metastases can occur with damage to both the near and distant parts of the body.

    For primary cancer, various types of sarcoma may be characteristic, less commonly, lymphomas and carcinomas. This disease is susceptible to people of all ages (sometimes even adolescent cancer), but at risk are people from 30 to 50 years old. The rapid growth of sarcoma allows the disease to invade first into all tissues of the heart muscle, and then spread to the nearest organs. Metastases sprout rather quickly in the lymph nodes and lungs.

    Primary sarcomas can be of several types:

    1. Rhabdomyosarcoma. A neoplasm is most often manifested in the muscle layer of the myocardium, but it can occur in various parts of the organ. Changes have the appearance of a white (sometimes light pink) node, within which necrosis and hemorrhage are located.
    2. Fibrosarcoma. A tumor characterized by a high density, which is observed in 10% of cases of cardiac oncology. In appearance, it is a white-gray node, where the infiltrate accumulates. It can affect both men and women.
    3. Angiosarcoma. Appears due to obstruction of the outflow and blood flow in the cells of the upper chamber of the right atrium, called the atrium. Due to the uncontrolled division of malignant cells, bulges form on the vessels, which eventually pass to neighboring organs. In the most advanced cases, these clusters become foci of necrosis and hemorrhage.
    4. Liposarcoma It rarely develops, affecting one or both atria. Metastases usually invade the lungs, bones, and liver. It is characterized by extremely severe course and complexity of treatment.
    5. Mesothelioma Its formation occurs in the pericardial sac. A tumor develops on the outer lining of the heart and can grow, covering the organ like a shell. Metastases usually penetrate the lymphatic system.

    In addition to primary, there is also secondary cancer. It appears due to heart metastasis in tumors of the kidneys, lungs, stomach, mammary or thyroid glands. A high probability of penetration of metastases into the heart muscle occurs with leukemia, lymphoma and malignant melanomas. Most often, the pericardium is affected, less often – the myocardium, heart valves and endocardium. Of all cases of heart oncology, secondary cancer accounts for about 10%.

    Malignant lesions in the heart are quite rare. Some scientists explain this by the fact that this organ is supplied with blood intensively and its cells are not subject to division. The heart is in a constant working rhythm, and metabolic processes in it occur quickly, but, nevertheless, sometimes a tumor is found in it.

    A neoplasm in the heart can appear as a result of poor environmental conditions, a person’s use of poor-quality food with the presence of carcinogens, the presence of bad habits, and hereditary characteristics of the body. Experts believe that factors such as atherosclerosis and a tendency to form blood clots can also cause the development of heart cancer.

    The study of the causes of heart cancer continues. The onset of cancer is associated with various factors, but the main ones that cause it are:

    • • Heredity. Oncological processes in one genus, when gene mutations are inherited and trigger the oncological process.
    • • Benign tumor, myxoma arising from injuries of the heart or after surgery on it. Its consequences create a predisposition to malignancy.
    • • Decrease in general immunity. Immunodeficiency provokes all types of oncology, therefore AIDS, the causative agent of which the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is contagious (although they can not be infected by airborne droplets, but only through blood or mucosal damage), also leads to cancer.
    • • The patient has bad habits (smoking, alcoholism, drug addiction).
    • • Long-term contact with carcinogens in production (chemical, oil industry), work with paints, construction materials (benzene, asbestos).

    A tumor is formed under the influence of environmental pollution, with an increase in background exposure, radioactivity. The etiology of the disease does not exclude psychosomatics as well.

    Serious pathology can be provoked by problems associated with a deterioration in blood flow intensity and metabolic rate: a tendency to thrombosis, vascular atherosclerosis. Heart cancer can occur after previous organ surgery due to degeneration of scar tissue into myxoma. A benign tumor may also appear and eventually develop into cancer after a chest injury.

    Other causes of cancer, experts say:

    • hereditary addiction;
    • improper diet;
    • severe intoxication;
    • smoking, alcohol and drug abuse;
    • infectious diseases.

    Specialists distinguish between primary and secondary heart cancer. Primary malignant tumors account for a quarter of all cardiological cancer formations.

    Among them, sarcoma is more common in men and women than other forms of the disease. The pathological process captures the right side of the organ. Heart sarcoma develops very rapidly. Tumor growth leads to compression of the blood vessels of a large circle of blood circulation, impaired rhythm and conduction function. Cancer metastases spread to nearby organs – the lungs, brain, adrenal glands, and lymph nodes.

    Cardiac angiosarcoma is the most common type of neoplasm that affects the myocardium. It is diagnosed in more than 30% of cases of primary oncopathologies of the muscular organ. This type of cancer is more common in men. Malignant cells can affect any department, but the tumor is mainly localized in the right atrium.

    Rhabdomyosarcomas grow from striated muscle tissue, they are found in patients of different age groups. Microscopic examination reveals an accumulation of cells in a shape resembling a node. It is soft, white or pinkish in color. It is localized in the myocardium.

    Fibrosarcoma is a mesenchymal oncological formation. Among patients with primary heart cancer, one out of ten reveals fibrosarcoma. Men and women get sick with the same frequency, regardless of age. Microscopy reveals a dense site with clearly defined limits of a whitish or light gray hue.

    Leiomyosarcoma disease is a cancer that attacks smooth muscle cells. Pathology is found in people who have reached 40 and 50 years of age. The neoplasm often captures the left atrium, growing into the pulmonary vein. And also leiomyosarcoma is found inside the pulmonary funnel and artery. Such a tumor manifests itself, like acute thromboembolism.

    Heart cancer progresses very quickly, and in the initial stages is extremely rare. Because of this, surgical treatment is not always effective. The operation is possible only if the detected tumor is located within the organ, and the process has not spread more remotely.

    Methods and treatment methods are determined by the size of the neoplasm. Endoscopic surgery is performed with a small tumor. Large cancers are removed by open-heart surgery. In clinics in Israel, Germany, and some other countries, donor organ transplants are performed for patients with cancer.

    The method of conservative treatment depends on the stage of the process. Patients are prescribed radiation therapy in the case of an inoperable form of the disease. Brachytherapy is prescribed – the introduction of a radioactive source directly into the tumor, and they also use cyberknife. With its help, the neoplasm is burned out. To do this, use x-ray machines, directing a beam of high-frequency rays into the desired area.

    Advanced metastases can occur anywhere. To stop their spread and reduce the size of cancer, patients are prescribed chemotherapy with cytostatic drugs.

    Heart cancer: symptoms, causes, stages and life expectancy

    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.

    Specialists distinguish several stages of oncological heart disease.

    1. Due to genetic damage, abnormal cells begin to divide intensely.
    2. In the area of ​​accumulation of atypical cells, a malignant neoplasm is formed.
    3. Once in the lymph or blood, metastases can spread to other organs. Heart cancer grows beyond the boundaries of the muscular organ, metastases spread rapidly.
    4. The primary tumor becomes large, exacerbated. In other organs, neoplasms appear due to metastasis.


    Despite its seriousness, a cancerous tumor on the heart is a disease whose symptoms are absent in the first stages. The beginnings of the neoplasm can show echocardiography and tomography. In the pictures, the inflammation looks like a round spot. Gradually shape and size change. The number of symptoms, the time of their appearance and the intensity directly depend on the location and size of the tumor.

    During the development of the disease, symptoms that make themselves felt are similar to those of other heart diseases such as myocarditis, embolism, and endocarditis. The symptoms appeared:

    Any symptom may indicate the presence of diseases that are not associated with the presence of a malignant formation in the heart. Therefore, the patient is unaware of the development of cancer cells in the heart.

    Symptoms indicate obvious heart problems:

    • dyspnea;
    • pain in the chest;
    • low pressure;
    • dizziness;
    • “Lump” in the chest;
    • bloating of veins.

    The manifestation of specific symptoms depends on the stage of development of the disease. With an increase in the size of inflammation in a patient, the following are possible:

    • fainting;
    • difficulty breathing while lying down;
    • tachycardia;
    • arrhythmia;
    • weight loss;
    • lower hemoglobin;
    • Raynaud’s phenomenon – cyanosis (blueing) of fingers and nails with pressure;
    • vena cava syndrome – an increase in veins in the neck;
    • temperature increase;
    • fatigue even at light loads.

    Symptoms of late stages of heart cancer with metastases include the following symptoms:

    • heart tamponade;
    • cachexia;
    • intoxication of the whole organism;
    • spots on the skin;
    • swelling of the face;
    • signs of damage to other organs;
    • sudden death.

    Do not ignore the presence of these symptoms. Getting timely medical attention in the early stages of cancer will increase the chances of a cure.

    All processes occurring in the heart muscle are characterized by a fast pace due to the increased work of the organ. Heart cancer is rare, organ cells practically do not divide.

    But sometimes this does not save from the formation of a malignant tumor in the heart muscle. Failure to share leads to scarring rather than organ repair.

    If oxygen does not enter the affected area, it dies.

    The exact causes of cancer in the heart of medicine are not yet known, but, according to doctors, the prerequisites that can cause mutation and uncontrolled cell division are highlighted. Malignant formation can develop under the influence of factors:

    • Genetics. Hereditary factor – the reason why a person is predisposed to the formation of cancer cells in the body. Although the disease mainly manifests itself already in old age, cases of the occurrence of a tumor in adolescents under 18 are known in practice. Perhaps the hereditary factor has become a catalyst in these cases.
    • Toxic effect. Harmful effects on the human body of toxic substances, radiation, work in hazardous production can provoke a mutation in the cells.
    • Infectious diseases. A tumor may be a consequence of a previous infectious disease. The presence of infections in the body indicates a decrease in immunity, therefore, the body’s inability to detect mutations and resist the development of tumors.
    • The degeneration of a benign tumor into a malignant tumor. After surgery, a myxoma may develop in the organ. Under the influence of certain factors (smoking, alcohol abuse, toxic effects), a benign formation can develop into a malignant one.
    • Adverse environmental conditions. Air polluted by toxic substances, pesticide poisoned earth, and, consequently, agricultural products grown on it, poison the body and contribute to genetic malfunctions in the cells.
    • Improper nutrition. Excessive consumption of fatty, carcinogenic food, fast food leads to the formation of blockage of blood vessels and impaired functioning of the heart. Any changes in the heart muscle can lead to serious diseases.
    • Alcohol abuse. With excessive alcohol consumption, the anatomy of the epithelium and the mucous membrane of the organs changes. This factor can cause irreversible changes in the cells of any organ, including the heart.
    • Smoking. Cigarette smoke is dangerous. Together with it, carcinogenic substances that cause pathologies enter the body.
    • Already existing malignant tumors in other organs. The heart muscle is affected by metastases of inflammation of other nearby organs.

    Stage of the disease

    If you do not take into account the zero stage of cancer, when the tumor is just emerging, the four main stages show their own characteristics.

    • 1st stage. Cell DNA damage occurs. This leads to a change in their structure and rapid division. The tumor does not exceed 2 cm in volume.
    • 2 stage. At the site of atypical cell formation, a malignancy begins to form. Tumor sizes range from 2 to 5 cm.
    • 3 stage. Stage 3 is characterized by the formation of metastases. The spread of the tumor occurs with the help of infected blood or lymph flow. The size of the tumor exceeds 5 cm.
    • 4 stage. The first lesion is in a state of relapse. The final stage is characterized by the appearance of metastases on organs distant from the heart muscle (liver, kidneys, stomach, etc.). This leads to the emergence of new foci of infection.

    Types of Heart Cancer

    They differ in shape, location, cause of formation. Sarcoma, in turn, is divided into these categories.

    Liposarcoma It is characterized by education only in adults. It is not common. The name is due to the lipoblasts that form the tumor. The formation has a soft, yellowish consistency. Externally, liposarcoma is similar to myxoma and, judging by statistics, is well treatable.

    Rhabdomyosarcoma. Like liposarcoma, it is rare. Formed in muscle tissue. It is a white, soft formation. Under the microscope, rhabdomyosarcoma cells show a number of forms (round, oval, spindle-shaped). A feature of this type of cancer is that it is extremely rare in women and in most cases is formed in middle-aged men.

    Angiosarcoma. According to statistics, more than 1/3 of all cases of heart cancer are angiosarcoma. This type of tumor affects the cells of the vascular endothelium of the blood vessels. May occur in the chamber of the right ventricle or atrium.

    Angiosarcoma is often confused with heart failure or pericardium. For this reason, it is diagnosed in the later stages when the tumor has reached a large size and has already metastasized. Surgical removal of the myocardium affected by metastases is not possible.

    All doctors can offer a patient with an advanced stage of angiosarcoma is radiation and chemotherapy to try to prolong life. The tumor itself is a dense body with the presence of vascular cavities on the surface, which are connected by a blood stream.

    Under a microscope, angiosarcoma is a randomly arranged round or spindle-shaped cell. Angiosarcoma is more common in men.

    Fibrosarcoma. It occurs in 10% of all cases of heart cancer. Collagen fibers and fibroblast-like cells form a grayish-white formation with clearly defined boundaries. In each case, they have a different level of differentiation. This type of malignancy is equally affected by men and women.

    Mesothelioma It was named so because of the development of malignant formation in mesothelial cells near the heart bag. A variety of cancer according to histology is divided into three types:

    • cancerous sarcomatous;
    • angioendothelioma (sarcomatous cancer);
    • adenocarcinoma (epithelioid cancer).

    Mesothelioma growth is invasive. The metastases of this type of cancer, unlike others, are able to travel through the lymphatic system.

    Myxoma. The safest malignant type of tumor does not form metastases. A neoplasm is dangerous in that it is mobile in itself and can lead to complete valve closure, disrupting blood flow. It is localized in the middle of the atrium. Myxoma is characterized by the appearance in middle-aged people.

    Lymphoma It is rare, but appears in men and women. Formed in the pericardium, usually does not go beyond it. Lymphoma is preceded by a decrease in immunity.

    People with AIDS and people who have had a heart transplant are more likely to develop lymphoma. It is diagnosed in the late stages of development, as it is difficult to detect.

    Running lymphoma is not treated surgically, so when it is detected, doctors prescribe chemotherapy and radiation.

    Secondary tumors. Secondary tumors often affect the pericardium, endocardium, myocardium and rarely the heart valve. For secondary neoplasms, benignity is characteristic.


    Diagnosing heart cancer is difficult. This happens for several reasons. First, the similarity of symptoms of heart cancer with symptoms of other diseases. Secondly, the absence of any symptoms in the first stages of the disease.

    Diagnostic and treatment methods

    Cancer in the initial stages is not very often diagnosed. Manifestations of the disease are masked under the symptoms of more common cardiological pathologies of the heart. Or a sick person writes off the malaise to overwork, stress.

    Diagnosis of heart cancer involves the use of instrumental and laboratory methods. Ultrasound scanning makes it possible to assess the functional state of the myocardium, to identify tumors, growths inside and on the walls of the heart.

    An electrocardiogram reveals the intensity of electrical impulses in the presence of cardiopathology. Radiography with high accuracy detects the spread of metastases in nearby and distant organs.

    Diagnostics using computed tomography can assess the condition of large and small blood vessels. Magnetic resonance imaging is needed if there are difficulties with the diagnosis.

    Using heart sounding, doctors can examine the internal surfaces of the organ. For diagnosis, an X-ray contrast probe is introduced into its cavity. Pericardial puncture is performed. For laboratory research, take the fluid with which the pericardial bag is filled.

    In laboratory conditions, tumor markers are checked, a clinical analysis is carried out, as well as a biochemical study of venous blood. Analyzes show the number of abnormal cells in the biological fluid, helping to determine the stage of the disease. Histological examination (biopsy) is necessary to determine the type of cancer cells.

    To identify cardiac oncology, it is necessary to use a full range of diagnostic measures, which includes the study of anamnesis (history of the occurrence of the disease), the clinical picture, as well as the use of laboratory and instrumental methods of research. If a malignant neoplasm is suspected, the following procedures are performed:

    1. Heart sounds are heard in order to />An ECG allows you to diagnose malfunctions in the heart and poor patency in the vessels. In some cases, this procedure showed a decrease in voltage, which is also characteristic of oncology.
    2. Echocardiography is necessary to determine the size of the tumor, its location, the presence of fluid in the pericardium. If the suspicions are confirmed, then the patient is sent for CT and MRI, thanks to which it is possible to study the changes in more detail.
    3. Laboratory studies of the biopsy of the tumor allow you to make a final diagnosis.

    Since cancer of the heart muscle tends to disguise itself as other diseases, in most cases, modern diagnostic techniques make it possible to identify it in the later stages. 90% of patients with this diagnosis die six months to a year after the detection of the disease.

    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.

    Tumors of the heart are represented by various benign and malignant neoplasms of a heterogeneous histological structure. They can be primary, that is, initially begin their growth from the tissues of the organ, or metastatic (sprouting from other organs).

    The presence of any, even benign, tumors in the heart is almost always deadly for the patient, since this organ is vital and violations in its functions lead to serious consequences.

    Primary neoplasms of the heart are rare and are detected with a frequency of 0,001-0,2%, and metastatic are detected 25-30 times more often.

    Neoplasms can begin their growth from any organ tissues: myocardium, pericardium, endocardium, septum and valvular apparatus. In some cases, they are congenital and are detected when performing fetal echocardiography of the fetus at 16-20 weeks of gestation.


    Tumors of the heart are benign and malignant. Separately, pseudotumors of the heart are isolated.

    Depending on the origin of the heart tumor, they are divided into:

    • primary – initially begin their growth from the tissues of the heart;
    • metastatic (or secondary) – germinate in the heart tissue from other organs, metastasizing through the blood or lymphatic channel.

    The causes of primary heart tumors are not yet known. Secondary tumors usually result from metastasis in cancer of the lungs, breast and stomach. In more rare cases, they occur with metastases of cancer of the thyroid gland, kidney, Kaposi’s sarcoma, leukemia, lymphoma, melanoma and soft tissue sarcoma.

    Depending on the type of cells, the formation of a heart tumor is divided into benign (detected in approximately 75% of cases) and malignant.

    Sometimes pseudotumors are found in the organ: organized blood clots, parasitic cysts, inflammatory formations (gum, granulomas, abscesses) and foreign bodies.

    The definition of an ailment includes a series of procedures, including an electrocardiogram.

    After collecting a medical history and patient complaints, an additional check of the human body with instrumental and laboratory methods is necessary. For an accurate diagnosis it is important to carry out:

    • Listening to heart sounds to identify noise that occurs when valve damage.
    • Blood screening. Determining the level of platelets, red blood cells and white blood cells, hemoglobin, ESR, C-reactive protein.
    • Electrocardiogram. It will detect heart rhythm disturbance, the presence of blockades and a decrease in voltage.
    • Echocardiogram. It will determine the size of the tumor, the location and presence of fluid in the pericardium.
    • CT and MRI. They will show a clearer structure of oncology.
    • A study of the tumor biomaterial and fluid composition will finally confirm the diagnosis.

    Among all oncological diseases, heart cancer is one of the rarest. Doctors suggest that this organ is less susceptible to the influence of cancer cells due to good blood supply, a high level of metabolism and functional activity. Nevertheless, after all, the heart is not completely invulnerable, and tumors, both benign and malignant, nevertheless occur.

    There are primary heart tumors and secondary. Primary tumors are those that originate precisely from the cells of the heart. They constitute a quarter of all cases of cancer of the heart, and are found equally often in people of both sexes.

    Most often, sarcoma develops, which affects mainly the right heart. Sarcoma compresses large arteries, coronary vessels, and blocks them.

    Secondary heart cancer is characterized by metastases that have sprouted into the heart from lung or breast cancer in women. Metastatic heart tumors are much more common than primary ones. They indicate a deep pathological process and damage to many organs.

    With the development of the disease, heart cancer, the symptoms sometimes increase so quickly that patients simply do not have time to seek medical help. However, in most cases, the clinical picture of the disease depends on where the tumor is located, as well as on its size.

    If a person has no problems with the heart, and suddenly heart failure suddenly begins to progress, this is cause for alarm. The heart becomes larger in size, its rhythm goes astray, shortness of breath and weakness appear.

    As a rule, it is difficult to recognize heart cancer behind such signs. Primary or secondary heart cancer, the symptoms are not too different from each other. It all depends on which part of the organ is affected.

    In the early stages, heart cancer is almost impossible to diagnose. The symptoms are too vague, and too expertly they disguise themselves as ordinary heart diseases. Even any other disease of the cardiovascular system requires a long and serious examination.

    For diagnosis, modern medical methods are used – CT, MRI. An echocardiogram also does not lose relevance. The doctor can simply miss many of the symptoms that eventually turn out to be significant for diagnosis, because the main thing is the manifestations of the heart.

    Unfortunately, this determines the entire course of the disease. The vast majority of cases, 80% – is a sarcoma that has already managed to give metastases. Almost all cases of heart cancer are fatal.

    As a rule, from the manifestation of the first symptoms the patient has from 6 to 12 months.

    Heart cancer treatment

    It is rarely enough to treat heart cancer. And basically we are talking about palliative treatment. It is pointless to operate on malignant forms of cancer due to its rapid development and metastasis.


    Manifestations of malignant neoplasms are similar to signs of cardiological diseases. Often, heart cancer symptoms increase very rapidly. They appear depending on the location, size and type of neoplasm. The disease may be masked. Without a thorough diagnosis, it is easy to confuse it with valve damage (this happens in adolescents and children), pericarditis and myocarditis, ischemia, and other pathologies.

    In most cases, the patient feels general weakness, his joints hurt, his fingers and toes go numb. Possible minor, but long-lasting hyperthermia, weight loss, rashes on the skin.

    In patients with cancer, as the tumor grows, a characteristic sign of cardiovascular insufficiency can be seen. This is a special form of fingers on the hands called drumsticks. The shape of the nail changes – the plate becomes round. The first two phalanges lose weight, and the extreme, on the contrary, becomes unnaturally thick.

    The superior vena cava syndrome develops. It is characterized by swelling, bluish tint and expansion of the veins located on the face close to the skin surface. The same phenomenon is observed in the vessels of the neck, arms, upper body. Patients suffer from shortness of breath, coughing attacks. They are worried about hoarseness, difficulty swallowing.

    Other symptoms arise with heart cancer, which resemble signs of a pathology of the nervous system:

    • paralysis, paresis;
    • bouts of seizures;
    • loss of consciousness.

    Due to the spread of metastases, secondary cancer develops, it manifests itself:

    • the appearance of shortness of breath with slight movement;
    • systolic murmur during auscultation;
    • tamponade of the heart;
    • rhythm disturbance;
    • acute pericarditis;
    • an increase in the area of ​​the heart contour detected in the x-ray.

    Having noticed the first symptoms and signs of oncopathology, it is necessary to undergo an examination as soon as possible and begin treatment.

    Symptoms and signs of heart cancer depend on a number of factors. Both the size of the tumor and the place of its occurrence play a role. It is quite difficult to diagnose oncology, since the manifestations of the disease are often similar to pericarditis, myocarditis, cardiomyopathy.

    In the early stages, the signs of the disease do not directly indicate the development of an oncological process in the body. They appear as follows:

    • joint pain;
    • coughing or fever;
    • the patient’s legs and stomach swell;
    • Raynaud’s phenomenon, when the fingers turn blue when pressed;
    • bloating of the veins on the neck, which occurs due to difficulty in pumping blood from the atrium.

    When the disease is in the second or third stage, the following symptoms of heart cancer occur:

    • fatigue and shortness of breath;
    • low blood pressure;
    • difficulty breathing when the patient is lying on his back or stomach;
    • broken heart rate, tachycardia;
    • dizziness, passing into fainting conditions;
    • chest pains of a “creeping” nature.

    Secondary heart cancer is known for the following symptoms:

    • the appearance of shortness of breath with minor exertion;
    • arrhythmia;
    • the occurrence of systolic murmur;
    • heart failure;
    • acute pericarditis;
    • X-ray shows an increased area of ​​the heart contour.

    Heart cancer prevention

    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.

    How many cancer patients live

    Malignant tumors do not allow to give too optimistic forecasts. After successful treatment, one can hope for 5 year survival. In the absence of timely therapy, the life expectancy from the moment of the onset of the first symptomatology does not exceed a year.

    You can reduce the risk of heart cancer if you follow the simple recommendations of doctors. It is necessary to abandon unhealthy habits, lead an active lifestyle. The importance of cancer prevention is given to a functioning immune system.

    An important part of cancer prevention is myocardial strengthening. Regular physical activity helps in this.

    In order not to become a victim of severe pathology, you need:

    • minimize stressful situations;
    • adhere to proper nutrition;
    • treat inflammations and infections on time, not allowing them to flow into a chronic form.

    Malignant cardiological neoplasms are rare and do not make themselves felt for a long time. To avoid the sad consequences, it is necessary to monitor the well-being, regularly undergo a control examination. It should include ultrasound diagnostics, electrocardiography, laboratory tests.

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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.