Therapies Damaging Hearts
PA, September 21, 2010 For the past two decades, cancer therapy
has become more sophisticated and effective, resulting in an ever-expanding
group of long-term cancer survivors.
is also a growing awareness of the potentially negative effects
of cancer treatment on the heart and the management of cardiac
disease during and after cancer therapy. In the September/October
2010 issue of Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases an international
group of experts takes an in-depth look at the ways in which cancer
treatment profoundly impacts patients' cardiovascular function and
can become a major detriment of overall survival.
Editors of this issue, Douglas L. Mann, MD, and Ronald J. Krone,
MD, both of the Division of Cardiology, Washington University School
of Medicine, St. Louis, put the situation into perspective:
management of heart disease in all its forms in patients with cancer
in all its forms presents special challenges to the cardiologist.
In the war on cancer, the cardiologist is not in the front lines,
directly confronting the enemy, but in the role of support and supply,
providing the oncologist the ability to keep the warrior strong
enough to defeat the enemy.
fighting the war on cancer, there is, like in any war, unwanted
'collateral damage.' There is no 'silver bullet' but, in many ways,
a refined shotgun, blasting the tumor while pellets hit other vital
organs. The bone marrow, liver, and nervous system get their share
of hits; but the heart and vascular system are certainly at risk
depending on the weapon used, particularly because the vascular
system and blood supply are intimately involved in any treatment
as in a war, not only must the enemy be destroyed; but the damage
must be contained to permit the rebuilding of the homeland.
recent recognition of the frequent collateral damage of the heart
from many of the newer chemotherapeutic agents, as well as the classic
anthracyclines, and the importance of this to management of the
cancer, should spur the acquisition of cardiac outcomes data and
ultimately trigger the development of specific evidence-based practice
guidelines to keep the heart from interfering with the war on cancer,"
commented Dr. Mann and Dr. Krone.
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