The heart is one of the human body’s most vital organs. It is the most important part of the circulatory system. Its function is to pump blood throughout the body through the blood vessels by repetitive rhythmic contractions. Heart cancer is one of the rarest forms of cancer.

It is divided into two types: primary cancer and secondary cancer. Primary tumors of the heart are those in which the cancerous cells start to grow and develop inside the heart itself. This form of heart cancer is very rare. Metastatic tumors of the heart are those in which the cancer initially originates inside any other organ or at another location and gradually grows and spreads to the heart. This type of heart cancer occurs more commonly than primary heart cancers but still is very rare form of cancer.

Heart cancer can begin developing from any part of the heart. The most common type of heart cancer in adults is angiosarcomas, which tends to develop in the right upper chamber of the heart. The second most common type of primary heart cancer in adults is cardiac rhabdomyosarcoma. This is also the most common type of primary heart cancer in children. Other less common kinds of primary heart cancers include mesotheliomas, cardiac liposarcomas, fibrosarcomas, schwannomas and fibrous histiocytomas.

The causes of heart cancer are not yet known. As with any other cancer, in heart cancer too the changes start to occur inside the cells which leads to the modification of their functions and uncontrollable growth. Such changes can occur in any of the cells of the heart. The risk factors for heart cancer have not yet been identified as it is a very rare disease. The symptoms of this type of cancer can have a sudden occurrence. Initially, a patient of heart cancer may not show any visible symptoms. The symptoms of heart cancer often resemble the symptoms of other heart disease. The common visible symptoms of heart cancer include: cough, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, sudden weight gain or weight loss, swelling of the feet and ankles, etc.

The most commonly adopted treatments for heart cancer include: chemotherapy and/ or radiation therapy to kill malignant cancer cells and to manage the symptoms, surgery for the removal of cancer, palliative care for improving the overall quality of life of the patient, and physical therapy to help in strengthening the body, reducing fatigue, increasing alertness and improving functional ability of the body during and after the cancer treatment.

Symptoms Of Heart Cancer:

dizziness, light headedness or even fainting
pain or tightness in the chest
difficulty in breathing when lying down flat or while sleeping
palpitations

More severe symptoms include:

enlargement of the heart
a quick accumulation of a bloody fluid in the lining surrounding the heart, leading to an obstruction in the flow of blood in the heart, hampering its normal functioning
blockage of blood flow at the opening of any of the heart valves
strange changes in the shape of the heart which can be seen through a chest x-ray
sudden heart failure

Other symptoms which resemble heart diseases like endocarditis are-

joint pain
sudden rapid weight loss
swelling in the ankles, legs or abdomen
fever and/ or cough
fingers turn blue on application of pressure
nail curvature along with the enlargement of the fingers’ soft tissues