Cardiology and oncology; the possible link between the two

Cardio Oncology woman cancer stethoscope

What does your heart have to do with cancer treatment? Apparently, a lot!

Improved treatments for cancer have resulted in patient survival, which is a good thing – a great thing. However, with those treatments, including radiation, drugs and chemotherapy, can come some side effects, many having to do with your heart. Some patients with heart disease have risk factors for cancer, and many patients with cancer are at risk for heart complications from their disease or treatments.

Cardio-oncology is a partnership between cardiology and oncology to make sure both diseases, or potential diseases, are looked at simultaneously. The American Heart Association reports people who have undergone breast cancer treatment, particularly older women, are increasingly at risk of long-term heart complications.

We are committed to supporting any cancer patient with concern about cardiovascular disease. We most commonly see those who will be receiving chemotherapy that can affect the heart, those with pre-existing heart disease, or those with new symptoms of heart disease.

Our team includes providers in both oncology and cardiology and is integrated into the Hennepin Healthcare Heart Center and the Comprehensive Cancer Center to ensure that care is well-coordinated.

Receiving care from an integrated cardio-oncology program at a premiere teaching and research facility ensures that patients have access to:

  • Quality care in a single location
  • Good inter-provider communication to coordinate a treatment plan
  • Continual improvement in care based on research and quality improvement efforts
  • Follow-up through a cardio-oncology patient registry that collects data on cardiovascular complications of cancer treatment and subsequent outcomes

February is American Heart month. Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans. Whether you are fighting cancer or not, we offer these tips to help improve your health with lifestyle changes. Start small and don’t give up.

The CardioOncology Program was developed by Michelle Carlson, MD, cardiologist at the Hennepin Healthcare Heart Center. If you are being treated for cancer, Dr. Carlson recommends doing your best to move at least a bit every day, even if it is just seated exercises. We know that you are in a difficult place right now, and we will meet you where you are at.

We are proud to offer this service as a partnership with our Comprehensive Cancer Center and Heart Center. Check out what else we have going on during American Heart Month.

Carlson Michelle ContactBesides developing the CardioOncology Program, Dr. Carlson specializes in general cardiology and cardiac imaging and is the director of the Echocardiography Laboratory. Specializing in women’s health, she is working with colleagues in Cardiology and Obstetrics to create a Cardiovascular Health in Pregnancy Program.  She also serves as an Associate Medical Director for ECMO.

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