Cardio-Oncology for Women
Advances in cancer therapies have led to a revolution in treatment and improved survival rates. But many life-saving treatments—whether it's traditional chemotherapy, newer agents such as immunotherapy, or radiation treatments—can potentially cause cardiotoxicity, or damage to the heart.
Breast cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers among women, and cardiac dysfunction is very common. In fact, many have an increased risk of long-term cardiac complications even years into their survivorship—after seven years, survivors are more likely to have a serious problem due to cardiovascular health than from the cancer itself.
To keep your heart healthy, you can work with a cardio-oncologist to address risk factors and prevent cardiac complications during both treatment and survivorship.
As soon as a patient receives a cancer diagnosis, it’s important to identify any underlying cardiac disease and work to manage risk factors like hypertension. Cardio-oncologists use targeted protocols and tools including traditional echocardiography and strain imaging to monitor progress and identify those likely to develop heart disease after finishing therapy.
Many variables affect a cancer treatment’s impact on cardiac health. Determining the best treatment options requires multidisciplinary collaboration, since the effectiveness or side effects of one treatment can potentially impact the other.
Effective treatment requires input from a variety of specialties: cardio-oncology, oncology, hematology, general cardiology, and interventional cardiology, to name a few. And using advanced imaging technologies can help identify cardiac abnormalities and potentially treat them early enough to prevent cardiotoxicity.
Women who have been successfully treated for breast cancer are at higher risk for cardiotoxicity, even years later. It’s critical to work with a cardiologist to monitor heart health and look for signs and cardiac symptoms related to the cancer treatment. This focus on prevention and early treatment will greatly improve the chances of success.
Cardio-Oncology at the Women’s Heart Center
It is essential to understand the risks associated with the cancer therapies and what plans are in place to detect as well as treat.
ColumbiaDoctors cardio-oncologists provide the highest level of cardiovascular care for cancer patients throughout their treatment journey. Whether screening for heart complications after cancer therapy, treating heart disease that develops due to chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or helping women make lasting lifestyle changes to manage risk factors, our physicians work with you to support optimal health and peace of mind.