It’s February 27th, and we are closing out the month of February, which represents not only National Cancer Prevention Month but also American Heart Month. All this month, because of Valentine’s Day, heart health advertising and articles, and my own echocardiogram, I’ve been reminded of heart health. Just as I’m about to run out of time to send this “heart reminder” blog post during the “heart” month, I worry that survivors ask about their heart health almost too late, if at all.
Did you know that many cancer treatments are toxic to the heart? Radiation and chemotherapy treatments can put cancer patients at risk for cardiac problems when treatment begins or can emerge in a few or many months following treatment. Congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, hypertension, and valve disease are just a few of the possible heart complications from treatment. Granted, people coping with cancer have a lot on their plates, just to get through treatment. Adding one more worry is not what anyone wants to do, but having the right information about your risks is vital. Some cardiac effects are obvious to detect, while others are silent. There is even a growing collaboration among specialists to communicate together about the possible cardiac risks their patients carry.
If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, are in treatment, or are out of treatment, ask your doctor about your cardiac health. You may need routine evaluations, or more involved assessments, to monitor your heart because of the type of treatment you’ve had. As with most health conditions, the earlier you know your status, the better. Early intervention can be key. Don’t forget to ask about your heart it’s your lifeline!
|Blog Author: Katherine Ray|