The new Cardiology-Oncology Program at Saint Peter’s University Hospital is designed to protect the cardiovascular health of patients undergoing treatment for cancer. This program is a response to the fact that some chemotherapy agents put cancer patients at risk for developing heart disease.
“We believe that with advanced technology, early detection and patient education we can lower this risk and help protect many hearts,” says Nidhi Kumar, MD, a cardiologist and medical director of Women’s Health at Saint Peter’s University Hospital.
Patients undergoing therapy at the Saint Peter’s Breast Center will have advanced echocardiograms using a new software called strain imaging. This program is scheduled to be piloted at the Saint Peter’s Breast Center, a practice of the Saint Peter’s Physician Associates network. The echocardiograms will be offered at the Women’s Imaging Center, conveniently located in the same suite as the Breast Center at the Center for Ambulatory Resources (CARES), next to the hospital.
“If you have been diagnosed with cancer, it is important to know that heart problems can arise as a result of anticancer treatment,” says David Jacob, MD, chief of cardiology, Saint Peter’s University Hospital. “This imaging enables cardiologists to detect signs of cardiac dysfunction at its earliest stages using sensitive software that can pick up changes months earlier than a conventional echocardiogram would show.”
Dr. Kumar says that the hallmark of this program centers on wellness. “Our goal is the treatment of the whole patient, not just the cancer. With more information given to the patient and their healthcare providers, we can keep hearts healthy and prevent disease,” says Dr. Kumar. “With many forms of cancer, the risk of death from a cardiovascular cause exceeds that of tumor recurrence, so paying close attention to the heart is paramount. Our goal is not to stop cancer treatment, but to help identify issues early and protect the heart,” adds Dr. Kumar.
“This new technology provides for further collaboration among doctors who treat breast cancer patients,” says Susan A. McManus, MD, medical director of the Saint Peter’s Breast Center. “Oncologists and cardiologists will work together to prevent, monitor and manage the effect of cancer treatments to the heart while providing expert advice and guidance to patients undergoing treatment.”
Call 732-745-8576 for more information about the new Cardiology-Oncology Program.