Women with AFib May Face Another Risk

New-onset atrial fibrillation in women may be tied to raised cancer risk

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

(RxWiki News) A 20-year study of nearly 35,000 women found that those who were diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFib) may have a raised risk of cancer.

That study, published in JAMA Cardiology and conducted by Swiss researchers, echoed the results of similar recent studies.

AFib is a type of irregular heartbeat. It's tied to potentially serious problems like blood clots, stroke and heart-related complications.

Those who were newly diagnosed with AFib were found to have a raised risk for cancer, this study found.

Cancer risk was highest in these women within three months of their AFib diagnosis, but a smaller — but still raised — risk persisted after that time. In contrast, women who were diagnosed with cancer only appeared to have a raised risk of being diagnosed with AFib in the first three months.

The researchers noted that the absolute increase in cancer risk in those who were newly diagnosed with AFib was modest. However, they did note that these findings may help clinicians better evaluate risk factors.

Although the researchers behind this study didn't make any firm conclusions about why women diagnosed with AFib might have a raised risk of cancer, they said shared risk factors between AFib and cancer may have a part. 

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and Swiss National Science Foundations funded this research. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 28, 2016
Last Updated:
June 1, 2016