Improving Survivorship for Cardio Oncology

For some cancer patients, radiation and/or chemotherapy treatments can add to the risk of heart conditions. Learn how our specialized cardio-oncology teams treat common issues.

Jul. 29, 2021 2   min read

Cancer is a complex journey for each one of the 1.8 million patients who receive a diagnosis in the United States each year. One factor that can add to that complexity is an existing heart condition or a heart condition that develops during or after cancer treatment.

In some cases, treating cancer with radiation and chemotherapy can cause or increase the risk of a heart condition. This is especially true if a person is already at a higher risk of developing a heart condition. 

We asked Uzma Iqbal, MD, a cardiologist with the Sands-Constellation Center for Critical Care, about the emerging medical field of cardio-oncology and helping patients learn more about their best options for treatment and therapies.

What puts someone at risk?

A cancer diagnosis on its own will increase your risk of damage to the heart muscle, but having a family history is also a factor. Some other factors to consider include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Past history of heart disease
  • History of radiation to the chest
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Having a conversation with your doctor to see if you may already have risk factors is important.

How will I recognize the symptoms?

Patients should be checking in regularly with their cancer treatment team and doctor, both in the days and weeks after their treatments and in the months and years down the road.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should contact your doctor:

  • Discomfort or pain in the chest
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen hands or feet

“Our goal is to give each person the best possible outcome according to their individual needs,” said clinical cardiologist Dr. Uzma Iqbal.

The Sands-Constellation Heart Institute has an outstanding team of expert physicians and medical providers who will help patients with diagnostic imaging, pathology and cytology testing, and other medical interventions.

NEXT STEPS Sands-Constellation Heart Institute

With some of the foremost experts in cardiology, the Sands-Constellation Heart Institute has a national reputation as a center of excellence in diagnosing, preventing, treating and managing heart disease and conditions.

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