What is the Future of Cardio-Oncology in Cuba?

Over the last several years, the Latin America region has seen an increased population life expectancy, and cardiovascular disease and cancer are now the top causes of death in Cuba. A new international perspective published March 16 in JACC: CardioOncology evaluates the present and future state of the rapidly growing cardio-oncology specialty in the country.

Manuel Bazan, MD, et al., explain that the Institute of Oncology and Radiobiology, located in Havana, made waves in 2010 by establishing a team of cardiologists, oncologists, and additional clinicians that worked to evaluate oncologic patients that showed signs of cardiotoxicity or had a history of cardiovascular disease. Since then, multiple hospitals have formed similar groups to improve patient outcomes and hone best practices in cardio-oncology.

"Multiple efforts are under way in Cuba to enhance cardio-oncology prevention, detection, treatment, and monitoring," explain the researchers. These efforts include: the formation of cardio-oncology groups across the country; usage of interventional methods for cancer patients with pericardial effusions; research on early predictors in chemotherapy-related cardiac dysfunction; increased focus on the unique needs of female cardio-oncology patients; and more.

However, they add that key improvement areas remain. Of utmost importance: increasing awareness of the risk of cardiotoxicities and the role of preventative cardiology; strengthening coordination, communication, and information-sharing between oncologists and cardiologists; incorporating cardio-oncology in cardiology fellowship curriculums; "improving protocols for diagnosis, evaluation, monitoring, and risk stratification of [cardiovascular diseases] in cancer patients;" and more.

Clinical Topics: Cardio-Oncology, Pericardial Disease

Keywords: ACC International, Cardiotoxicity, Latin America, Pericardial Effusion, Life Expectancy, Cuba

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