Some cancer treatments can damage the heart and the cardiovascular system. UAB Medicine’s cardio-oncology program addresses that problem by offering complete testing and specialized care to help protect patients who are undergoing cancer treatment that may affect cardiovascular function. The program is part of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB.
Side effects like high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), heart blockages, blood clots, stroke, and heart failure can be caused or made worse by cancer treatments such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and newer approaches like targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Certain side effects and complications that cause cardiac problems occur during cancer therapy, but others may show up much later. The cardio-oncology program was created to monitor for and detect side effects and respond to them quickly and effectively.
The second most common cause of death in cancer survivors is heart disease, so it’s important to identify any potential cardiac side effects from cancer therapy and treat or prevent them, when possible. The cardio-oncology program is specifically designed to serve cancer patients at risk of heart disease or with existing heart disease. The program team is part of UAB Medicine’s nationally ranked Cardiovascular Institute, and these highly specialized physicians are experts in treating specific heart and vascular conditions. They perform advanced evaluations to identity patients who may be at increased risk for cardiac problems related to cancer treatment. These same providers also address and manage existing complications from cancer treatment that can affect the cardiovascular system.
As a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB maintains specialized programs and care teams to help patients at every stage of their cancer journey. The cardio-oncology program offers the most advanced technology and resources at several locations, including The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital, The Kirklin Clinic at Acton Road, and UAB Medicine Primary & Specialty Care of Gardendale.
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