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Caring for Your Heart During & After Cancer Treatment

At Aurora Health Care, the Karen Yontz Center for Cardio-Oncology treats heart-related complications of cancer treatment with integrated, patient-centric care. Our doctors work closely together, whether they specialize in heart, lung, vascular or cancer treatment.

Whether you have existing cardiovascular problems or are at risk, our team can develop a customized treatment plan to protect your heart.

World-Class Care

Using Research to Define Cardio-Oncology Treatment

Some cancer treatments can have cardiotoxic (dangerous for your heart) side effects. That’s why your doctors monitor you very closely when you are receiving specific types of cancer care.

We blend research and expertise to understand the cardiovascular risks that cancer treatment might cause you. This way, we can create a care plan that suits your individual needs.

Genes and Cardio-Oncology

In-depth research helps guide our treatment approach. Here’s how:

  • Oncologists (cancer specialists) are making exciting discoveries based on genetics, the study of characteristics or traits that you inherit from your biological family.
  • Cardio-oncology also uses pharmacogenomics, which is the study of how genes affect a person’s response to drugs.

Our cardiologists and oncologists work closely with pharmacists who specialize in cancer, as well as geneticists. Together, they can better understand how your genes might affect your body’s response to certain medications.

This knowledge helps us prescribe an effective heart treatment, customized for you. With the right combination of treatment and medications, we can fight a particular tumor while also protecting your heart.

The Aurora Difference

At Aurora, our researchers won’t stop until we protect the hearts of all cancer survivors. Our work includes using electronic medical record data to prevent heart-related complications before they start. Find out more about our cardiovascular research.

What To Expect

What to Expect From Our Cardio-Oncology Care

Our services range from comprehensive evaluation to effective treatments for people who are:

  • At risk for heart disease and are having or will have cancer treatment
  • Being treated for heart disease and are having or will have cancer treatment
  • Received cancer treatment in the past and may develop heart and circulatory problems

Concerning Heart Symptoms

Talk to your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms during or after your cancer treatment:

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Swelling in the legs and feet

Diagnosing Cardio-Oncology Risk

Our team will work to detect abnormalities of your heart and vascular system (blood vessels). Detecting problems early gives us a better chance to prevent or treat complications.

During and after cancer treatment, we will monitor your:

  • Chemotherapy side effects: Some chemotherapy can weaken the heart.  If you have had past heart problems, your heart should be checked carefully during treatment. Some people who take specific chemotherapy may experience arrhythmia (heart rhythm disorders), cardiomyopathy (weakened or enlarged heart) and hypertension (high blood pressure).
  • Radiation side effects: Radiation treatment, especially if it was performed before 1990 or involved the left chest, can damage heart tissue or the heart valves. People who received radiation may have a higher chance of heart attack. Radiation also can make it more risky to have later cardiovascular surgery – although we offer innovative, minimally invasive treatments that dramatically reduce this risk. Learn more about transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).
  • Hormone treatment side effects: Some hormone treatments can increase your risk of blood clots and heart attack. We’ll monitor you very carefully during treatment to flag these risks and help you manage them.

Cardio-Oncology Treatment

To develop your personalized care plan, we will conduct a cardiovascular disease assessment. This consists of:

  • Reviewing your medical history
  • A physical exam
  • Heart testing, such as a stress test
  • Imaging tests, such as a heart ultrasound – including echocardiograms and 4-D ultrasound – which is performed periodically to determine if cancer treatment has effected your cardiovascular system

Throughout the process, we’ll coordinate and collaborate with you and your other health care providers. We’ll also work with you to determine a follow-up visit plan so we can monitor your health during and after treatment.

Contact Us

Get More Information About Cardio-Oncology

To make an appointment or get more information, please call (414) 646-2662.

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