Cardio-Oncology Program Launches at Jersey Shore University Medical Center

Multidisciplinary approach addresses cardiovascular effects of cancer treatments for adult and pediatric patients

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 Jersey Shore University Medical Center launched in 2020 to do just that.

The Cardio-Oncology team ensures current cancer patients receive a regular heart function assessment. 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.

“As cancer treatments have evolved over the years, cancer survival has improved, which is of course a good thing, but the new forms of chemotherapy and radiation therapy can cause lasting damage to the heart,” said L. Steven Zukerman, M.D., medical director of the program. “Our multidisciplinary program provides patients with seamless and expert care as we monitor and protect their hearts before, during and after cancer treatment.”

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 is located in HOPE Tower at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, which houses the cancer program and affiliated cancer specialists, as well as pediatric specialists, providing convenient patient access and coordination with oncologists. The program also is aligned with the K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center to support pediatric cancer patients and create a heart health baseline.

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