Tumors that develop in the heart are called cardiac tumors. These types of tumors develop in the valves of the heart and are considered rare. Tumors that spread to the heart are considered secondary tumors because they are spread from cancer in another part of the body. This means that the tumor did not begin in the heart itself. Although many cardiac tumors are benign sometimes malignant cardiac tumors occur as a result of other types of cancers such as lymphoma, mesothelioma and sarcoma. Lung cancer can also spread to the heart. A type of cancer called angiosarcoma is considered aggressive and consists of abnormal blood vessels or cells that are cancer cells usually located in the right atrium of the heart. This causes an obstruction in the right ventricle and pericardial tamponade as the cancer causes metastasis in the lungs. Other types of sarcomas include: liposarcoma, histiocytoma, osteosarcoma, and fibrosarcoma occur in the heart's left atrium and mitral valve problems result in heart failure due to these types of sarcoma. Lymphomas of the heart can cause SVC or superior vena cava syndrome and sudden cardiac enlargement. The superior vena cava is the major vein in the body that carries blood from the head, neck and upper chest and arms to the heart. When an obstruction or blockage of blood flow occurs, this is usually caused by a tumor, aneurysm or malignancy. Treatment for the removal of such tumors most often requires heart surgery or even robotic surgery. Brachytherapy, may be a way for patients who develop cardiac malignancies to avoid surgery if they are people who are unable to undergo surgery due to many other health problems. Brachytherapy involves the use of seeds or radioactive implants used to shrink and dissolve the tumor. The great thing about brachytherapy is that if the cardiac tumor is malignant and is spread from another tumor or cancer in the body brachytherapy can be used to remove existing tumors that are located in other parts of the body besides the heart. The brachytherapy implants can be located near the tumor in the heart and used in a low dose capacity in attempts to shrink and remove the tumor and also assist in removing cancer from other parts of the body. Cardiac brachytherapy can be used for high risk patients who otherwise would be unable to undergo surgery to remove cardiac tumors that have spread to the heart. Having a big or enlarged heart can not be so good, brachytherapy can make the heart just the right size!
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