Cardio-oncology is an emerging field in cardiovascular medicine, developed in response to the growing need for clinicians with expertise in both cancer and cardiology. Dr. Michael Acker, chief of the division of cardiovascular surgery, explains.
Developments in cancer treatment and care have dramatically improved survival for cancer patients, allowing them to live longer, fuller lives. However, just as these treatments can damage and kill cancer cells, they can also damage other parts of the body, including the heart. That’s why we developed the Penn Medicine Cardio-Oncology Program to offer specialized cardiac care for cancer patients and survivors. Located in Philadelphia, our program is one of the few in the nation that brings together specialists in both cardiology and oncology to treat and protect your heart at every stage of cancer treatment and beyond.
Who We Treat
- Cancer patients prior to or during treatment that may have a negative impact on the heart
- Cancer patients at risk for heart disease or have heart disease
- Cancer survivors whose hearts may have been damaged by cancer therapy
Conditions Treated by the Cardio-Oncology Program
Some cancer therapies, including radiation and chemotherapy, can cause lasting, long-term damage to the heart and the circulation. This may cause cardiac conditions such as:
- Abnormal heart beat (arrhythmia)
- Narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart (coronary artery disease) or the legs (peripheral artery disease)
- Damage to the valves of the heart
- Deterioration of the heart muscle and its pumping ability (heart failure)
- Increase or decrease in the blood pressure beyond normal range (hypertension/hypotension)
- Inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart (pericarditis)
Why Penn’s Cardio-Oncology Program is Different
For over 15 years, our multidisciplinary team has been treating cancer patients and survivors in the Philadelphia area. Our cardiologists work closely with the oncologists of the Abramson Cancer Center to provide seamless, integrated care. As an academic medical center, we are also at the forefront of cardio-oncology research, developing new methods to identify patients at increased risk of developing cardiac events and researching strategies to decrease cardiac risk. Our team works together to create the treatment plan that is right for you.
In This Section
Meet our cardio-oncology treatment team.