CardioSmart | Cardio-Oncology: Furthering the Discussion

Thanks to advances in treatment, the number of cancer survivors has never been greater and is expected to reach more than 20 million in the U.S. by 2026. New therapies are helping patients live longer, but that also means they also need ongoing cancer treatments that may damage their hearts. Additionally, many patients are living long enough after their cancer treatments to develop heart disease.

How to Talk to Older Adult Patients

Cardiovascular disease is the most frequent condition in older adults and the number one cause of death. For people older than 75, high blood pressure is the most common heart condition, followed by coronary artery disease and heart failure next. Here are several key questions that health care providers should address with older adult patients with heart disease:

  • What does a specific health test involve and what are the risks?
  • Will it lead to improving symptoms or preventing future illness?
  • Can or should medications be simplified?
  • How long should medications be taken? Are there less expensive options?
  • What are their care wishes and who needs to know about them?
  • Are there lifestyle changes or exercises to help them feel better?
  • How do they correctly check their blood pressure at home?
  • How often should they check it?
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The ACC and many of its members have been actively involved in discussions related to cardio-oncology, particularly around new approaches to prevent or manage cardiovascular disease. Among the topics being discussed: successfully implementing team-based care between cardiologists and oncologists; improving methods to reduce the cardiovascular side effects of radiation therapy and new cancer drugs. Additionally, discussions around educational needs of cardio-oncology professionals are also taking place.

In addition to a growing and thriving Cardio-Oncology Member Section and clinical topic collection on ACC.org, the ACC’s Advancing Cardiovascular Care of the Oncology Patient conference, taking place next month, will offer contemporary care strategies for health care providers involved in cardiovascular care of cancer patients and cancer survivors. Emerging pioneers in the field of cardio-oncology will engage with participants through interactive case discussions, debates, breakout session and roundtables. On the CardioSmart front, a new patient-centered resource developed by a working group of cardiologists, oncologists and patient advocates from the ACC and the Eastern Cooperative Group-American College of Radiology Imaging Network aims to help clinicians talk about:

  • Common types of cancer treatments that cause heart problems
  • Types of cancer with treatments that often damage the heart and blood vessels
  • Lifestyle tips about healthy living related to diet and personal activity for cancer patients

You’ll also find information about the cardio-oncology care team, where to get support, articles about understanding research, and general information about what engaged patients working with their care team can do to get the best possible results. Future sections will focus on chemotherapy and heart disease (5FU and capecitabine), cancer patients and exercise, and breast cancer and heart disease.

Advocating for and advancing the priorities of the cardio-oncology community and seeking to improve the cardiovascular health of patients with cancer and cancer survivors is an important goal – and one we can achieve by working together with each other, our oncology colleagues, and our patients and their families.


Visit CardioSmart.org/Cardio-Oncology and ACC.org/Cardio-Oncology for resources.

Clinical Topics: Cardio-Oncology, Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathies, Prevention, Atherosclerotic Disease (CAD/PAD), Acute Heart Failure, Diet, Hypertension

Keywords: ACC Publications, Cardiology Magazine, Coronary Artery Disease, Blood Pressure, Cause of Death, Goals, Hypertension, Heart Diseases, Cardiovascular Diseases, Diet, Heart Failure, Life Style, Breast Neoplasms, Antineoplastic Agents, Cardiotoxicity, Cardiotoxins


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