Clinic for Cancer Patients with Cardiac Complications
Unfortunately, when it comes to health care, treating one disease can cause side effects or even serious new health issues. This can be the case for cancer patients receiving certain chemotherapy or radiation treatments - their heart can become damaged, causing cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease.
Studies vary, but some show that up to 50 percent of patients receiving chemotherapy will develop some type of heart complication. Also, if patients have heart disease prior to their cancer diagnosis, they sometimes have to face unique challenges, and their cancer treatment can be more complicated.
For oncologists treating the patient, this presents a new health issue, one outside their area of expertise. UW Health now offers a new cardio-oncology clinic to oncologists and to patients facing heart disease and cancer at the same time.
Patients referred to the clinic may have developed heart disease as a result of their cancer treatment, or may have had a pre-existing heart condition before the cancer surfaced.
Steven Ewer, MD, a UW Health cardiologist and assistant professor, cardiovascular medicine, cares for patients in the clinic, collaborating with the patient's oncologist to coordinate care.
"Dr. Ewer is able to merge his expertise on the management of cardiac diseases with the intricacies of oncology care, thus improving the care for these patients," says Kari Wisinski, MD, assistant professor of medicine and member of the UW Carbone Cancer Center.
Both oncologists and cardiologists see the clinic as a win-win.
"The University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach when treating patients with cancer," says Glenn Liu, MD, associate professor of medicine and Cancer Center member. "Given increasing awareness of cardiovascular risks with our therapies, partnering with Dr. Ewer and the Cardio-Oncology Clinic has provided our patients additional expertise to help minimize these risks and manage cardiovascular issues should they arise."