It is not uncommon for certain chemotherapy drugs, targeted treatments or radiation therapy to weaken a patient's heart, thereby reducing its ability to circulate blood throughout the body. This is especially typical for survivors who were given anthracyclines (chemotherapy medications such as doxorubicin and daunorubicin) or radiation therapy to the chest as part of their cancer treatment plan.
When cardiotoxicity develops, cancer survivors can experience complications, such as chest pain, swelling in the hands and feet, unusual weight gain or lethargy, frequent coughing spells or even congestive heart failure. Some of the milder complications can occur during or just a few weeks after a therapy cycle, but the majority of serious complications typically do not arise until a year or more into a patient's survivorship. However, seeking treatment for these side effects in the earliest stages of their development can improve patient outcomes and quality of life. As a result, cardiotoxicity surveillance and therapy is often an important aspect of survivorship.
Through Moffitt's Survivorship Program and Cardio-Oncology Program, patients can obtain:
- Baseline cardiac function tests and ongoing monitoring for cardiotoxicity
- Medications for pain, swelling and other cardiotoxic side effects
- Nutritional counseling and other integrative medicine services
- Coordinated treatment from cardiologists, oncologists, supportive care specialists and primary care providers to ensure a comprehensive approach to treatment during survivorship
Moffitt Cancer Center's Survivorship Program offers patients a number of innovative services to improve their quality of life once they have completed their initial treatment. One of these services, provided through a collaboration with Moffitt's Cardio-Oncology Program, is the surveillance and treatment for cardiotoxic side effects that may occur after the conclusion of treatment.
Patients can be referred to our multidisciplinary clinic, incorporating a joint visit with both a medical oncologist and cardiologist to provide cardiovascular and oncologic risk counseling in order to determine the optimal treatment for a patient’s cancer while minimizing cardiovascular risk.
Referrals are not necessary to make an appointment with Moffitt's Cardio-Oncology Program or Survivorship Clinic. Call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online to plan for your first visit.