For many cancer types, survival has increased significantly in recent years, due, in large part, to advances in cancer therapies. However, some cancer treatments can cause or worsen heart problems. Our cardio-oncology program is designed to evaluate and manage heart problems in cancer patients before, during, and after treatment.
Our goal is to eliminate heart disease as a barrier to effective treatment by:
- Counseling individuals with existing heart disease or at risk of developing heart disease before cancer therapy begins
- Monitoring patients before and during cancer treatment to identify any heart complications or cardiac toxic side effects
- Preventing or reducing further heart damage—and, when possible, reversing it
- Screening for any heart complications after the completion of treatment
- Advising patients about lifestyle changes that may help reduce the risk of heart disease
- Participating in research studies to better understand cardiac issues in patients with cancer
Based on an assessment of each patient, members from the cardiology and oncology teams collaborate to decide how best to mitigate potential cardiotoxicities, either through the addition of cardioprotective medications, or by switching to alternate treatments.
Using advanced imaging, they also evaluate patients’ heart function in real-time during treatment—identifying any developing heart conditions as soon as possible. For patients whose heart problems crop up long after treatments end … during survivorship … having cardiologists and oncologists working together as a team has improved the outlook for many with cardiac risks.