Significant advances in cancer treatment have helped us to more effectively control cancer and markedly extend the lives of our patients. However, some of these advanced therapies can also produce serious cardiovascular side effects.
The Cardio-oncology Program, a collaboration of the Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) Heart & Vascular Center and Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, is one of only a few programs in the country that brings together expert cardiovascular specialists and oncologists to provide optimal care for cancer patients during and after cancer treatment.
We care for cancer patients who have pre-existing heart conditions and those who develop cardiac side-effects to cancer treatment. Working together as a team, we help minimize cardiotoxicity during cancer treatment and cardiovascular risks during cancer survival. Specialized surgical care is also available for patients who have non-cancerous tumors of the heart or atrial myxoma.
The most common causes of heart-related conditions include:
At Brigham and Women's Hospital, our cardiovascular specialists provide expert evaluation and diagnosis with the aid of the latest advanced imaging technologies. Along with a careful physical examination, the cardiologist may order one or more of the following tests or procedures:
Treatment may include:
After being referred to the Cardio-oncology Program, each patient will meet with our lead physician for a comprehensive consultation and evaluation. Following the evaluation—which may include imaging to further define a patient’s cardiovascular condition—our team will develop an individualized treatment plan. Treatment varies according to the progress and type of the patient’s heart condition, whether they have any other underlying conditions and whether they are currently being treated for cancer.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital provides a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, collaborating with colleagues in other medical specialties. Patients with cancer-related heart issues have access to top specialists throughout the fields of cardiovascular medicine, cardiac surgery, cardiac imaging, vascular surgery and oncology. If your cardiologist discovers a non-cardiovascular condition or concern, you will be referred to an appropriate BWH physician for an expert evaluation.
Initial evaluation appointments take place at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute or at the Watkins Clinic in the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital – depending on which location is most convenient for the patient.
Visit the Kessler Health Education Library in the Bretholtz Center, where patients and families can access computers and knowledgeable staff.
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