Study reveals urgent need to monitor heart of cancer patients

Published: May 04, 2019, 16:08 IST | ANI | Washington D.C.

The growing number of cancer survivors and the increasing number of chronic cancer therapy mean that the need for cardio-oncology services is rising

Representational picture
Representational picture

Washington D.C.: There is an urgent need to monitor the heart of cancer patients, as physicians are not revealing them about the cardiotoxicity risks of treatments and may not be fully aware of the dangers themselves, suggest researchers.

The growing number of cancer survivors and the increasing number of chronic cancer therapy mean that the need for cardio-oncology services is rising. Heart failure caused by cancer therapy can occur up to 20 years after treatment, as per the details presented in The Meeting of EuroHeartCare.

"Depending on the type of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, between 1% and 25% of cancer patients may develop heart failure due to cancer treatment. Risk also depends on cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking and obesity. Better monitoring of the heart and intervention before, during and after treatment can prevent or lessen the impact of this cardiotoxicity," said study author Professor Robyn Clark.

"Monitoring the heart throughout the cancer journey can ensure it is protected. Cardiotoxicity can occur even in people without cardiovascular risk factors since drugs like anthracyclines and trastuzumab are toxic to the heart, so it is an innocent bystander," said Professor Clark.

"For cancer patients who do develop heart failure, there are clinics that will improve their quality of life but our study shows many are not referred," she added.

"Telephone calls to support and monitor those with cancer and heart failure would reduce the burden of hospital appointments, which patients said was a priority."

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