We're hiring all positions! View more information and apply here.


Cardio-oncology is a subspecialty of medicine that focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and management of cardiovascular diseases in patients with cancer and cancer survivors. Cardio-oncologists are specialists in cardiology who work together with oncologists and oncology teams to provide comprehensive care to these patients.

The Vital Role of Cardio-Oncologists

Cardio-oncologists play a vital role in helping patients with cancer and cancer survivors maintain their cardiovascular health. They work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as oncologists, radiation oncologists, nurses, and pharmacists, to develop and implement individualized care plans for cancer patients.

Cardio-oncologists can identify patients at increased risk for heart disease, develop strategies to mitigate this risk, and manage any cardiovascular complications that may arise. They may also be involved in clinical trials to develop new and better ways to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease in cancer patients. Some of the specific ways that cardio-oncologists can help cancer patients include:

  • Conducting pretreatment risk assessment for underlying heart disease that could impact outcomes
  • Monitoring heart function with imaging tests throughout chemotherapy, radiation, and other anti-cancer therapies
  • Prescribing medications like beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors to protect the heart from toxicity
  • Managing any cardiovascular effects like hypertension, heart failure, or arrhythmias that emerge during treatment
  • Providing survivorship care focused on reducing heart disease risk factors and managing late-onset cardiotoxicity

Cardiac Risks of Cancer Therapies

Cancer treatment can have a significant impact on the cardiovascular system. Some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can damage the heart muscle and increase the risk of heart disease. Cancer survivors may also be at increased risk for heart disease due to other factors, such as age, lifestyle, and underlying medical conditions. This is because cancer treatments can weaken the heart muscle, damage the heart valves, and/or cause inflammation of the heart.

The risk of cardiovascular toxicity from cancer treatments depends on a number of factors, including the type of cancer treatment, the dose and schedule of treatment, and the patient's individual risk factors for heart disease. Here’s how cancer treatments can damage the heart:

  • Chemotherapy
    While efficacious in combating cancer, certain chemotherapeutic agents, like anthracyclines and HER2-targeted drugs, can inflict damage on the heart muscle. This damage may manifest as cardiomyopathy, a condition marked by the deterioration of the heart's ability to pump blood effectively, ultimately leading to heart failure.
  • Radiation Therapy
    Radiation directed at the chest area during cancer treatment significantly heightens the risk of developing coronary artery disease. This occurs as a result of damage to the coronary arteries, compromising blood flow to the heart muscle. Additionally, radiation can cause injury to cardiac structures and valves, contributing to long-term cardiovascular complications.
  • Immunotherapy
    Some immunotherapies, specifically checkpoint inhibitors, unleash inflammatory responses in the body. While instrumental in combating cancer, this inflammatory environment can increase the likelihood of arrhythmias and heart failure. The delicate balance between immune activation and cardiac health becomes a critical consideration in these cases.
  • Targeted Therapy
    Hormonal therapy employed in the treatment of breast and prostate cancer carries implications for metabolic health. This treatment can elevate the risk of metabolic disorders, which, in turn, predispose individuals to cardiovascular diseases. The intricate interplay between hormonal fluctuations and cardiovascular well-being necessitates a vigilant approach.

Post-Remission Cardiac Care

Surviving cancer marks a significant victory, but it also signals the beginning of a new chapter in your health journey. Once a patient completes their primary cancer treatment and enters remission, cardio-oncology still plays an important role in long-term cardiac care. Post-remission cardiac care typically includes regular checkups, blood tests, and imaging tests. Your cardio-oncologist may also recommend lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight. 

In the post-remission phase, cardio-oncologists actively contribute to ongoing patient care in several crucial aspects:

  • Ongoing Monitoring
    Recognizing the potential late-onset effects of chemotherapy or radiation, cardio-oncologists advocate for continuous monitoring. Periodic echocardiograms and EKGs may be required, depending on the risk of cardiotoxicity. 
  • Post-treatment Damage Care
    Should any cardiac issues such as heart failure, left ventricular dysfunction, valvular disease, or arrhythmias surface post-treatment, cardio-oncologists adeptly manage and address these concerns to ensure optimal cardiovascular health.
  • Education and Lifestyle Guidance
    Cardio-oncologists offer valuable insights into recognizing cardiac symptoms that warrant prompt evaluation. Moreover, they provide comprehensive guidance on risk factor modification, extending beyond medical interventions. Education includes practical advice on dietary choices, the incorporation of regular physical activity, strategies for smoking cessation, and effective management of conditions like hypertension or diabetes.
  • Medication Management
    Continuing their supportive role, cardio-oncologists vigilantly oversee the ongoing use of cardioprotective medications. If such medications were prescribed during cancer treatments, adjustments are made based on the patient's evolving cardiovascular health status. This proactive approach aims to optimize medication regimens to align with the patient's current health needs and ensure ongoing protection against potential cardiovascular issues.
  • Research Participation and Patient Empowerment
    Cardio-oncologists actively involve patients in research initiatives aimed at advancing our understanding of the intersection between cancer treatment and cardiovascular health. This engagement not only contributes to scientific progress but also empowers patients. By participating in research, patients play a vital role in shaping future strategies for cardio-oncology and contribute to the collective knowledge that benefits individuals facing similar challenges. This collaborative approach enhances patient outcomes and underscores the importance of shared decision-making in the post-remission phase.

Am I a Candidate for Cardio-Oncology Care?

If you are undergoing or planning cancer treatment, considering the potential cardiovascular implications is crucial. Cardio-oncology care is not reserved solely for those experiencing evident cardiac symptoms; it extends to anyone engaging in cancer therapies. Here are key considerations:

  • Ongoing Treatment
    If you are currently undergoing cancer treatment, cardio-oncology care can provide proactive monitoring and management of potential cardiac complications associated with your specific therapies.
  • Post-Treatment Survivorship
    Even if you have completed cancer treatment, understanding the lingering cardiovascular risks is essential for long-term survivorship. Cardio-oncology care can address and mitigate any cardiac concerns arising post-treatment.
  • Chemotherapy
    Individuals receiving chemotherapeutic agents, particularly anthracyclines or HER2-targeted drugs, may benefit from cardio-oncology care due to the potential risk of cardiomyopathy and heart failure.
  • Radiation Therapy
    If your cancer treatment involves radiation to the chest, the heightened risk of coronary artery disease and cardiac structure damage warrants cardio-oncology evaluation.
  • Immunotherapy or Hormonal Therapy
    Patients undergoing immunotherapies like checkpoint inhibitors or hormonal therapies for breast and prostate cancer should consider cardio-oncology care to manage potential inflammatory effects and metabolic impacts.
  • Existing Heart Conditions
    If you have pre-existing cardiovascular conditions, such as heart disease or hypertension, incorporating cardio-oncology into your cancer care plan becomes imperative. These conditions can influence treatment decisions and outcomes.
  • Individualized Evaluation
    A comprehensive risk assessment by a cardio-oncologist can provide insights into your unique risk factors, guiding personalized interventions and monitoring strategies.
  • Long-Term Cardiovascular Health
    Cardio-oncology care extends beyond immediate treatment considerations to encompass survivorship planning. Monitoring your heart health in the post-treatment phase is crucial for overall well-being.

Navigate Cancer Treatment with Your Heart Health in Focus

Engaging with a cardio-oncologist allows for a tailored approach to your cancer care, addressing potential cardiovascular challenges associated with your treatment. Whether you are in the midst of cancer therapies or transitioning into survivorship, considering cardio-oncology ensures a holistic and proactive approach to your health. Request an appointment with our cardio-oncologists today.


Get To Know Our Cardiologists

Meet our renowned cardiologists who are committed to providing you with the best possible care from the initial consultation to post-operative support. Our cardiovascular specialists will guide you through every step of your medical journey with compassion and expertise.

In Search of Care? Request a Consultation Today


Find a Location