In February, we celebrated American Heart Month and as part of our core values, we’re happy to raise awareness not only about heart health, but how issues with your heart can affect life after cancer treatment.
Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States? Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.
Living a heart-healthy lifestyle can be incredibly important when you’re faced with difficult traumas like treatment for cancer. According to a new report from the American Heart Association, certain cancer treatments may take a toll on the heart, but there are certain precautions you can take to protect your heart before treatment. “From the start, women [and men] should have their cardiovascular health evaluated,” Dr. Richard Steingart, chief of cardiology service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center said. “Then, they and their doctors should try to get any heart disease risk factors under the best control possible.” It’s incredibly important to talk with your health care team if you’re concerned about how treatment may affect your heart.
“When it comes to chemotherapy, any effects on the heart typically show up in the short term and can be detected during treatment,” said Steingart. The report also suggested that in some cases, women might need a break from their cancer treatment to see whether any heart effects reverse. If they don’t then the treatment plan may need to be changed.
It’s important not only to focus on your heart health during treatment, but after as well. Side effects from treatment can arise long after treatment has been completed. You should talk with your oncology team and your primary care team to ensure that you are receiving appropriate health screenings moving forward.
On March 13, Triage Cancer is hosting a free webinar on Cancer Survivorship Care Plans & Late Effects. Cancer Survivorship Care Plans can be valuable tools to understand the cancer treatment you have received and how it impacts your ongoing follow up care after cancer treatment is completed. The webinar discusses the elements of an effective care plan, shares ways to access plans, explains long-term and late-term side effects that some cancer survivors may experience, and provides information on screening options related to those side effects.
You can also take steps towards living a heart-healthy lifestyle by joining the American Heart Association’s national movement in support of healthier communities and healthier lives. https://www.yourethecure.org.
Putting plans into action for caring for your heart after treatment is essential to your health.