We identify cancer patients at highest risk of fatal stroke. This is a population-based study using nationally representative data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program, 1992-2015. Among 7,529,481 cancer patients, 80,513 died of fatal stroke (with 262,461 person-years at risk); the rate of fatal stroke was 21.64 per 100,000-person years, and the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) of fatal stroke was 2.17 (95% CI, 2.15, 2.19). Patients with cancer of the prostate, breast, and colorectum contribute to the plurality of cancer patients dying of fatal stroke. Brain and gastrointestinal cancer patients had the highest SMRs (>2-5) through the follow up period. Among those diagnosed at <40 years of age, the plurality of strokes occurs in patients treated for brain tumors and lymphomas; if >40, from cancers of the prostate, breast, and colorectum. For almost all cancers survivors, the risk of stroke increases with time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5172
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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