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The Cardio-Oncology Program brings together cardiologists and oncologists to help cancer patients minimize adverse effects on your heart that may result from cancer therapies, including radiation.
Understanding Cancer and Heart Disease
Cancer treatment can have both short- and long-term effects on the heart. Cardiotoxicity — damage to the heart caused by cancer therapies — can sometimes become more life-threatening than the cancer itself. Our team is also active in world class basic, translational and clinical research in cardio-oncology.
Our goal is to help patients reduce their risk of cardiotoxicity and avoid stopping effective cancer therapies. The sooner cardiotoxicity is found, the more reversible it is.
Before Cancer Treatment
We evaluate patients for cardiovascular risk in relation to the benefit of your recommended cancer treatment, and provide cardiovascular therapies that reduce risk. Our intent is to maximize your survival.
Using non-invasive imaging, including echocardiography, stress tests and cardiac MRI, we monitor the impact of your cancer treatment to quickly detect any damage to the heart muscle. When cardiotoxicity occurs, we collaborate with our oncology colleagues to assess the risks and benefits of continuing your cancer therapy versus the need to preserve cardiac function. We work with you to provide therapies to treat and repair heart failure and other conditions.
The cardiotoxic effects of cancer therapies often occur years after treatment is complete (late cardiotoxicity). We identify patients at highest risk for late cardiotoxicity, and monitor patients in the years after cancer treatment, so that we can implement preventive therapies when needed.
Heart failure specialists and cardio-oncologists manage patients with cardiac amyloidosis. Technetium Pyrophosphate (PYP) scanning, cardiac MRI, endomyocardial and bone marrow biopsies are available. For patient referrals, email HeartFailureReferrals@bidmc.harvard.edu.