Cardio-oncology helping patients suffering heart disease and cancer simultaneously

According to the American Heart Association over 30 million Americans are dealing with various forms of heart disease and some also face another health challenge at the same time: a diagnosis of cancer.

Many of these patients benefit from a medical specialty called cardio-oncology.

74-year-old Mavis Swann never had any health issues until December 2019, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

But before treating her cancer, doctors wanted to assess the health of her heart.

“The treatment for my specific form of cancer was to take this drug called her pet in and hercepton it works negatively on your heart,” Swann said.

A team at the Cleveland Clinic Weston found Swann’s heart was so weak she needed a pacemaker before she could begin her cancer treatment.

“And therefore we can have a win-win by completion of cancer treatment, which is lifesaving, but without the risk of heart damage,” said Dr. Diego Sadler, a cardio-oncology specialist.

Sadler said some patients like Swann may come before cancer treatment, while others are seen during or after treatment if problems develop as a result of exposure to chemotherapy and radiation.


About the Authors: