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Chemo-induced heart damage? You are on your own…

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Many chemotherapy regimens and radiation can lead to cardiovascular health problems, including increased risk of cardiac dysfunction, heart failure, arrhythmias, valvular heart disease, accelerated atherosclerosis and pericardial disease

You have been diagnosed with cancer. Your oncologist has recommended chemotherapy. You are familiar with the usual side effects of chemotherapy such as hair loss, nausea, fatigue, etc. You assume that if there was a likelihood of chemo-induced heart damage then  your oncologist would tell you.

Image result for image of chemo induced heart damage

And certainly if there was anything you could do to prevent a serious side effect such as heart damage your oncologist would tell you.

And you would be wrong. The article linked and excerpted below is saying two basic things for you to consider.

 

 

  1. most hospitals don’t teach doctors about chemotherapy-induced heart damage.
  2. “also cancer treatments can lead to cardiovascular health problems, including increased risk of cardiac dysfunction, heart failure, arrhythmias, valvular heart disease, accelerated atherosclerosis and pericardial disease…”

More importantly, there are a host of evidence-based therapies that have shown the ability to either prevent chemo-induced heart damage or help you manage it long after your chemotherapy is over.

I didn’t know much about this issue until I became a chronic atrial fibrillation survivor. Once I began researching the issue I decided that

  1. I did well living with no A-Fib until 14 years after having the chemo that probably caused my chronic A-Fib
  2.  I wish that I had taken CoQ10 during my Adiamycin (anthracycline) therapy…

I am both a long-term cancer survivor and cancer coach. If you would like to learn more about evidence-based therapies to reduce or eliminate the risk of chemotherapy or radiation-induced collateral damage, scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Cardio-oncology services may improve patient care if more widely available

Summary- The impact of cancer treatments on cardiovascular health is an important consideration when treating cancer patients, but many hospital training programs have no formal training or services in cardio-oncology and a lack of national guidelines and funding are frequent barriers to establishing such programs, according to an American nationwide survey….

Studies have shown that many cancers and heart disease are linked through common risk factors and prevalence in the same age population. Also cancer treatments can lead to cardiovascular health problems, including increased risk of cardiac dysfunction, heart failure, arrhythmias, valvular heart disease, accelerated atherosclerosis and pericardial disease….

However,

  • only 35 percent of centers surveyed included cardio-oncology services in their pre-operative consultation services managed by general cardiology, and
  • only 27 percent of centers had an established, specialized cardio-oncology service with multiple clinicians.
  • Sixteen percent had a single cardiologist with expertise in treating cancer patients, and 12 percent had no cardio-oncology services but planned to add them within a year.

But the need is there. A significant number of those surveyed reported they did not feel confident in dealing with cardiovascular care specific to cancer patients and gave themselves only an average rating when asked about their level of understanding of the impact of holding or stopping cancer treatments on cancer outcomes…”

 

 

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