• Women's Cancer Research Foundation

Certain Cancers Increase Stroke Risk, New Analysis Confirms


A 2021 systematic review from the Journal of Cancer Survivorship revealed that people living with select cancers (patients either in remission or undergoing treatment) have a significantly higher risk for stroke than people with no history of cancer.


These studies primarily revealed a significantly increased incidence of stroke for patients diagnosed with a malignancy,

Since patients are living longer with cancer because of the improved efficacy afforded by novel targeted therapies, it is essential to understand the potential secondary outcomes associated with improved survival rates. The researchers evaluated 36 studies involving cancer patients and the incidence of stroke. These studies primarily revealed a significantly increased incidence of stroke for patients diagnosed with a malignancy, including pancreatic, lung, colorectal, leukemia, breast, and ovarian cancers. Pancreatic cancer was associated with the highest risk for an ischemic (blood vessels to the brain become obstructed) or hemorrhagic (bleeding interferes with the brain's ability to function) stroke. Stroke risk was greatest within the first 6 months of a cancer diagnosis.


Results suggest that patients with cancer have a higher risk of stroke.

Overall, the results suggest that patients with cancer have a higher risk of stroke and therefore, guidelines for stroke prevention and risk management for cancer patients should be further emphasized, so that when clinicians are seeing patients, they can better understand the risk factors associated with stroke and cardiovascular diseases.


About Women’s Cancer Research Foundation The Women’s Cancer Research Foundation (WCRF) is one of Southern California’s and the nation’s most active research organizations for female cancers. We are dedicated to serving the interests of patients, families, and friends affected by women’s cancers. WCRF partners with physician-scientists nationally to make differences in women’s lives by offering hope, strength, and progress.


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