Cancer Patients Need Special Heart Care

Better treatment with chemotherapy and radiation therapy has reduced cancer deaths significantly. But for some patients, cancer treatment can cause lasting damage to the heart by aggravating existing heart conditions or causing new ones. The cardiovascular risks and toxic effects of cancer therapies on the heart is known among physicians as cardiotoxicity. The University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center is home to the state’s first Cardio-Oncology Clinic, where heart specialists focus on minimizing and preventing heart damage caused by chemotherapy and radiation. Only a handful of hospitals around the world have dedicated programs with scientists and physicians working to address the impact of cancer treatment on the heart.

Cardiovascular issues that can arise from cancer treatment include heart failure, heart attack, high or low blood pressure, arrhythmias, fibrosis and heart valve disease. As aggressive cancer drugs are used on older patients who may already have heart disease — and researchers identify a growing number of cardiovascular side effects of cancer treatment — the U-M Cardio-Oncology team is working to enhance the quality of life for these patients by protecting their heart function.

Heart and Cancer Patients Benefit

For heart patients, clinic doctors perform pre-surgical or pre-treatment evaluations for those with cardiac conditions who are also being treated for cancer, and provide medical care to improve heart function prior to a cardiac surgery or procedure.

Cancer patients, with or without known heart disease or risk, and cancer survivors benefit from a clinical assessment of heart function and, if needed, continued medical care for the heart. Doctors also evaluate and treat cancer survivors when a major illness, injury or even pregnancy triggers a reaction by the heart to the toxic effects of previous cancer treatment. The U-M uses strain imaging, a specialized form of echocardiography, to provide a detailed analysis of specific segments of the heart in order to predict damage before it occurs.
Our ultimate goal at the Cardio-Oncology Clinic is to help get patients through their cancer treatment while mitigating its impact on the heart. Patients are also followed closely after surgery and screened for heart-related issues.         

Our Location

The clinic is in the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center, a 5-level facility that unites the U-M Health System’s cardiovascular services, located at the heart of the medical campus at the corner of Ann and Observatory streets in Ann Arbor.

Patient Resources

Heart Failure Information Guide

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment for heart or vascular care, or to learn more about our cardio-oncology program, call the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center New Patient Coordination Center at 888-287-1082.