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
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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