Cancer patients at risk for heart disease

Today cancer survivors are living longer as the result of significant advances in cancer therapies. Unfortunately, these same therapies, including chemotherapy and radiation, can negatively affect the heart. Consequently, cancer survivors represent a rapidly growing patient population at risk for heart disease.

Widely used chemotherapy drugs known as anthracyclines and cyclophosphamide can result in unintended cardiac effects. Several newer agents such as herceptin and other tyrosine kinase inhibitors can also have potentially serious effects on the heart. The cardiac effects of cancer treatment may include heart failure, heart rhythm disturbances and hypertension. More importantly, the majority of individuals who get cancer also have risk factors that cause heart disease.

Our Cardio-Oncology program has the following specific goals:
  • Identify and treat patients who are at high risk for developing heart problems from cancer treatments
  • Provide active cardiac surveillance for patients during and after completion of cancer treatments
  • Detect early signs of heart damage using the latest imaging techniques such as cardiac MR and advanced echocardiography
  • Develop multidisciplinary care plans including complementary medicine, genetic counseling, cancer rehabilitation, and nutrition services
  • Conduct research to better understand the mechanism of cardiac damage from cancer treatment
Who should be referred?
  • Patients with pre-existing cardiac disease or with risk factors for heart disease who are being considered for cancer surgery, chemotherapy or stem cell transplant
  • Patients with history of cardiac side-effects from cancer therapies, mediastinal or breast radiation
  • Patients who are receiving high dose chemotherapy or combination chemotherapy agents
  • Patients with low or declining left ventricular ejection fraction
  • Patients on hormone therapy for prostate, ovarian and breast cancer
For physician referral and consultation call 612-365-6000
  • Option 1 - University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview
  • Option 2 - Fairview Southdale Hospital or Fairview Ridges Hospital

University of Minnesota Physicians Heart at Fairview is committed to providing exceptional care based on leading edge academic research. We work hard to keep you informed of your patients' care by providing detailed reports from diagnosis to treatment to follow-up.

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us anytime.