Improving Your Cardiovascular Wellness
Over the past decade, there has been a revolution in cancer treatment with a growing number of patients surviving cancer. In 2017, there were nearly 16,000,000 cancer survivors in the United States alone, a number that was unimaginable not too long ago. While improved oncology treatment has dramatically increased cancer survivorship, there has been a growing emphasis in potential heart and vascular issues that cancer patients and cancer survivors may be at risk for. In particular, new cancer therapies can damage the heart, blood vessels, cause problems with blood clotting, and even cause complications with the body’s metabolism, affecting such parameters as blood sugar and cholesterol, or fat and skeletal muscle make-up of the body. Some of these effects occur during the course of treatment; however, the risk of heart and vessel issues can occur several years (or even a decade) after completion of cancer treatment.
Cardio-oncology (the cardiovascular care of cancer patients and cancer survivors) has emerged as a new discipline in medicine. Cardio-oncology is the partnership of cardiologists and medical and radiation oncologists who combine their knowledge to help protect the heart and blood vessels of people undergoing cancer treatment. Cardio-oncologists can offer valuable advice allowing both the cancer and the subsequent heart issues to be treated simultaneously and safely.
Our goal with this website is to update cancer patients and cancer survivors about the risk of heart disease, highlighting the important steps that cancer survivors can take to decrease their risk of subsequent heart diseases. Early and aggressive efforts of reducing cardiac risk factors through lifestyle modification and/or with medical therapy represent the most important intervention. In particular, each patient has unique risk of heart disease, owing to specific cancer types and treatments, and so we advocate a personalized approach to patient care.