Review Paper Explores Growing Demand For Cardio-Oncology Specialists

The number of cardiologists trained in cardio-oncology does not currently meet the needs of the rapidly growing population of patients treated for cancer, according to a review paper published April 29 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The paper examines the efforts of the cardio-oncology community to provide the education and training needed to deliver high-quality cardiovascular care to cancer patients and survivors.

Salim S. Hayek, MD, FACC, et al., explain that though limited in number and scope, training programs are emerging to meet the education needs for cardiovascular care providers of patients with cancer. According to a survey by the authors, 51 percent of accredited general cardiology fellowship programs are a part of institutions providing dedicated cardio-oncology services, up from 27 percent in 2014. An additional 33 percent responded that they were planning to add these services in the near future; however, only nine of these institutions that offer cardio-oncology services had training opportunities specific for the field of cardio-oncology.

A 2015 survey in cardio-oncology conducted by the ACC identified that a lack of educational resources in cardio-oncology was a barrier to developing training programs. In response, educational resources have been developed to meet the needs of the field, including live courses at national meetings, online resources, clinical practice guidelines and journals, such as ACC's new journal JACC: CardioOncology, which is set to launch in September 2019.

The authors outline what a training program in cardio-oncology should look like, while also acknowledging roadblocks such as a lack of 1) funding and support, 2) an accreditation process, 3) a formalized training curriculum and 4) evidence of clinical benefit and economic feasibility of interventions. The authors stress the importance of collaboration in the field of cardio-oncology, particularly between cardiologists and oncologists who form the referral base.

"Inclusion of cardio-oncology as a component of general cardiology training programs is the first step at establishing a workforce capable of recognizing and managing the complex cardiovascular burdens associated with cancer in every community," concludes Bonnie Ky, MD, MSCE, FACC, editor-in chief of JACC: CardioOncology and co-senior author of the paper.

Clinical Topics: Cardio-Oncology

Keywords: Specialization, Fellowships and Scholarships, Medical Oncology, Survivors, Accreditation, Questionnaires, Curriculum, Referral and Consultation, Cardiotoxicity


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