Hackensack University Medical Center’s Cardio-Oncology Program Addresses Cardiac Implications of Cancer Treatments

Coordinated cardiac program monitors oncology patients for cardiovascular effects before, during and after cancer therapy

According to the National Cancer Institute, 650,000 patients in the U.S. receive chemotherapy annually. Cancer survival rates have improved over the years due to newer and better forms of treatment with chemotherapy and radiation, but with survivorship comes the potential for adverse cardiac effects.

As chemotherapy and radiation treatments can adversely affect the heart, it’s important that oncology patients are closely monitored. The Cardio-Oncology program at Hackensack University Medical Center launched in 2018 to do just that.

Led by Program Director H. Mark Denson, M.D., the Cardio-Oncology team ensures current cancer patients receive a regular heart function assessment. Robert Berkowitz, M.D., Ph.D., FACC, Steve Kanarek, M.D., David Silber, D.O., FACC, and Timothy Simpson, M.D., further enhance the cardio-oncology expertise at Hackensack. Cancer survivors, including those who received cancer treatment as children, are monitored for heart disease or risk, and if needed, receive continued medical care to maintain heart functionality.

Patients in the Cardio-Oncology program may have cardiac side effects from traditional cancer therapies, existing cardiovascular issues prior to a cancer diagnosis or may be receiving novel molecular-targeted therapies with potential adverse cardiovascular effects. They may be monitored and treated for cardiomyopathy and heart failure, cardiac amyloidosis, veno-thromboembolic disease or cardio-metabolic disease related to cancer treatments.

The program offers comprehensive diagnostics, including advanced imaging and expertise in Echocardiographic STRAIN modalities for most accurate imaging, particularly beneficial for assessing patients with cardiac amyloidosis. Additionally, inpatient consultative service with the advanced heart failure team is available.

A robust outpatient referral process is in place with John Theurer Cancer Center, community oncologists and community cardiologists. This program ensures cancer patients regionally have access to proactive, coordinated cardiac care.

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