In the Cardio-Oncology Clinic at Mayo Clinic, doctors trained in heart disease (cardiologists) evaluate and treat people who have heart disease or who are at risk of heart disease before, during and after treatment for cancer. People who have undergone breast cancer treatment, particularly older women, are increasingly at risk of long-term cardiac complications, the American Heart Association reports.
Cardiologists work together with a multidisciplinary team of doctors trained in cancer conditions (oncologists), blood disorders (hematologists) and others to provide comprehensive, coordinated care for people with cancer who may need heart care. In this coordinated approach, evaluation and a treatment plan can often be developed in days.
Oncologists may refer people to cardiologists in the Cardio-Oncology Clinic if needed. The goal of the team in the Cardio-Oncology Clinic is to ensure people can receive the most appropriate cancer therapy, while minimizing their risk of heart complications and treating any heart conditions. Doctors evaluate and treat heart conditions before, during or after cancer therapy as needed.
Cardiologists in the Cardio-Oncology Clinic may evaluate and treat people before, during or after cancer therapy who:
- Have a high risk of heart disease
- Have existing heart disease
- Develop heart disease or heart complications after cancer therapy
Services offered by cardiologists include:
- Offering advice and guidance to people with a high risk of heart disease or existing heart disease before cancer therapy and evaluating how to prevent, monitor and treat heart conditions
- Discussing cancer treatment options with oncologists for people at high risk of heart disease or existing heart disease
- Providing treatment for heart conditions, including heart medications if needed
- Monitoring people with heart disease or at risk of heart disease before and during cancer therapy with regular imaging tests and blood tests to look for signs of heart complications
- Monitoring and treating heart complications that may develop during cancer therapy as a result of taking certain chemotherapy drugs or receiving radiation therapy to the chest area
- Screening for heart complications after cancer therapy, especially people who have taken certain chemotherapy drugs or have had radiation therapy to the chest area
- Treating heart conditions or complications that may develop after cancer therapy due to specific chemotherapy drugs or radiation therapy to the chest area
- Providing lifestyle coaching for people after cancer therapy, such as making lifestyle changes to help reduce the risk of heart disease and maintain health, including eating a heart-healthy diet and exercise
Researchers in cardiovascular diseases, oncology and other areas study cancer therapy and its effect on the heart. Doctors study the use of imaging tests before, during and after cancer therapy to monitor the heart condition and evaluate the risk of heart disease. Researchers also study proton beam therapy and its effects on the heart compared to conventional radiation therapy. Cardiologists also research how cancer patients live with certain heart conditions. In basic and clinical research, researchers study how to optimize clinical outcomes of people who have cancer and heart disease.
You may be referred to the Cardio-Oncology Clinic by your oncologist. Not all services may be available at all Mayo Clinic locations.