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Developing a Cardiology-Oncology Partnership

Developing a Cardiology-Oncology Partnership

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer are the most prevalent diseases in the current era, and the rates of these diseases continue to rise. More than 2 million breast cancer survivors in the United States are at risk for cardiotoxicity. Pediatric cancer survivors are two to five times more likely than the general population to develop heart disease. Treatment for cancer has become more effective, but cardiac disease in these patients has in turn become increasingly common. CVD can affect their quality of life as well as the course of cancer treatment. Preventing CVD in Cancer Patients Preventing CVD in cancer patients is important because aggressive cancer therapies are being used in older patients who may have cardiac problems or cardiovascular risk factors. Furthermore, researchers are identifying cardiac toxicities with new cancer therapies. Cardiotoxicity from cancer treatments include heart failure, hypertension, hypotension, arrhythmias, pericarditis, and myocardial ischemia. Radiation to the chest, leukemias, and chest tumors can lead to pericarditis, myocarditis, valve disease, and coronary artery disease.   Diagnosing cardiotoxicity during cancer treatment can be challenging. Symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, and edema are common to cardiac problems but are also adverse effects of cancer therapy. When patients present with these symptoms, they should be referred to cardio-oncology programs for further evaluation. Collaborative Care Among Cardiologists & Oncologists At the University of Michigan, cardiologists are collaborating with oncologists to tailor cardiac and cancer therapy to minimize cardiotoxicity. We stratify risk in patients with cardiac disease or CVD risk factors in an effort to optimize these conditions prior to cancer treatment. Cardio-oncology programs: • Provide prevention and early detection of cardiac complications....
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