April 2018 – Straight to the Heart
Certain cancers and their treatments can lead to heart problems. Generally this occurs
in three ways: 1) cancer can metastasize to the heart or its lining 2) certain rare tumors
can release chemicals into the bloodstream that damage the heart’s valves and
muscles 3) certain white blood cell tumors secrete proteins that become sticky deposits
known as amyloids, which damage the heart. It’s important to note that many cancer
risk factors overlap with those for cardiovascular disease and cancer patients generally
experience more heart problems than the average person. For patients without risk
factors, heart problems may still be a threat as some treatments are known for
cardiotoxicity. Cancer treatments can cause structural problems, vascular conditions
that affect blood vessels, myocardial dysfunction and heart failure, and electrical
conduction issues. Some side effects can occur years after cancer treatment is ended.
Thankfully, there’s a growing number of cardio-oncology teams with medical staff
trained to deal specifically with these issues.
Article Source: Malmo, Katherine. (2018). Straight to the Heart. Cure, pp. 20-23
Side Effect Management