What is Cardio-Oncology?
Cardio-oncology is an integrated, specialty care service that promotes cardiovascular health for the cancer patient. The objective of cardio-oncology is to prevent heart problems associated with cancer therapy. It is part of comprehensive cancer care, aiming to keep the heart strong so when therapy is complete patients do not have to worry about their hearts.
The field of cardio-oncology takes care of three cardiovascular issues in patients with cancer:
- The first deals with the cardiac complications of cancer and its therapy. Some treatments for cancer can be cardiotoxic. Cardio-oncology aims to protect the heart while permitting optimum cancer treatment.
- The second focuses on patients with co-existing heart disease and cancer. This includes patients with a history of a heart attack or stent placement, valvular heart disease, arrhythmias or heart failure.
- The third deals with patients who will undergo chemotherapy: cardio-oncology addresses how to minimize the risks for them with the emphasis on prevention of heart-related problems. In addition, survivors of cancer can be evaluated to determine what measures can be taken to optimize their heart health.
What Are the Goals of a Cardio-Oncology Program?
The goals of the cardio-oncology program are as follows:
- Evaluate and treat the cardiac complications of cancer and its therapy
- Participate in the management of patients with coexisting cardiac disease and cancer
- Provide pretreatment cardiac risk assessment
- Contribute to clinical/transitional research involving patients with cancer
- Develop evidence-based monitoring and treatment strategies
- Provide training in cardio-oncology for physicians-in-training
The ultimate goal is to give cancer survivors the best quality of life possible.