What is cardio-oncology?
Cardio-oncology is a comprehensive system of care designed to reduce any potential heart disease complications for cancer patients or survivors. At Baptist Cancer Center, we have a dedicated team of oncologists, cardiologists and nurse navigators who collaborate to help coordinate your care and ensure you receive the most appropriate treatment while minimizing any existing heart conditions or future heart complications.
How does cardio-oncology work?
Baptist Cancer Center oncologists collaborate with the cardiologists at Stern Cardiovascular to anticipate, prevent and manage the heart diseases that can develop before, during or after cancer treatment. Using leading-edge diagnostics, they will discuss cancer treatment options with you and your cancer care team to minimize the risk of further heart complications and to limit delays or interruptions in your cancer therapy while protecting your heart during and after treatment. They will continue to monitor you throughout your cancer journey and will recommend adjustments and medications when necessary. Every patient referred to the program is assigned a dedicated nurse navigator to help coordinate care and ensure quality care.
Following your treatment, Baptist’s cardiologist will monitor your heart for any changes and provide guidance for healthy living, diet and exercise regimens.
Why would you need cardio-oncology care?
Cancer patients with previously diagnosed heart disease require special care to prevent further heart damage during treatment. Any cancer patient receiving chemotherapy and radiation therapy can be susceptible to heart damage and the increased risk of heart disease from toxicities while receiving these lifesaving cancer therapies.
Baptist Cancer Center oncologists and the cardiologists at Stern Cardiovascular will look for any sign of heart disease or irregularity that can be exacerbated by or result from cancer therapies, including:
- Heart failure or a weakened heart muscle
- Heart attack or a blockage of blood vessels of the heart
- Arrhythmias or heart rhythm disorders, such as atrial fibrillation
- Heart valve disease, such as premature narrowing of heart valves
- Pericardial disease or complications of the lining surrounding the heart muscle
They also screen all cancer patients for conditions that could increase their chances of developing heart disease during treatment, including:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Tobacco use
- A family history of heart disease