About Our Program
Significant advances in cancer treatment have helped us to more effectively control cancer and markedly extend the lives of our patients. There are times, however, that certain advanced therapies will produce serious short or long-term cardiovascular side effects. At Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, our goal is to help patients reduce their risk of cardiotoxicity (damage to the heart caused by cancer or its therapies) and avoid discontinuing effective cancer therapies. The sooner cardiotoxicity is found, the more reversible it is.
What We Treat
Our Cardio-Oncology Program provides care to patients in varying stages of cancer treatment who have or are at risk for heart disease. Our range of services includes evaluation and treatment of patients:
- Who will begin cancer treatment and have risk factors for heart disease
- Who will begin cancer treatment and are being treated for heart disease
- Who are undergoing chemotherapy, immunotherapy or radiation and develop cardiovascular symptoms such as chest pain or tightness, shortness of breath, leg swelling, irregular heartbeats (palpitations), lightheadedness or dizziness
- Who have had cancer treatment in the past and develop new cardiac problems
- Who have had radiation therapy in the past (to the chest area)
- Who have a cardiac tumor
Our Multidisciplinary Approach
The cardio-oncology program brings together specialists and clinical researchers who work together to provide the best care possible. We care for cancer patients who have pre-existing heart conditions, are at risk of developing heart issues, or who are experiencing cardiac side effects to cancer treatment.
Our multidisciplinary team includes experts in:
- Cardiology and advanced heart failure
- Cancer surgery
Before Cancer Treatment
We evaluate patients for cardiovascular risk and the benefits of the recommended cancer treatments. In this phase, we focus on developing strategies to prevent cardiac side effects from cancer therapies and optimize your cardiovascular health. We provide cardiovascular therapies that may reduce such risk.
During Cancer Treatment
Using non-invasive imaging, including echocardiography, stress tests and cardiac MRI, we monitor the impact of your cancer treatment to quickly detect any damage to the heart muscle. When cardiotoxicity occurs, we collaborate with our oncology colleagues to assess the risks and benefits of continuing your cancer therapy versus the need to preserve cardiac function. We work with you to provide therapies to treat and repair heart failure and other conditions.
After Cancer Treatment
The cardiotoxic effects of cancer therapies often occur years after treatment is complete (late cardiotoxicity), particularly in patients with history of radiation therapy. We identify patients at the highest risk for late cardiotoxicity, and monitor patients in the years after cancer treatment, so we can implement preventive therapies when needed.