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Building a Cardio-Onco-Hematology Program

Joerg Herrmann, Charles Loprinzi, Kathryn Ruddy
Current Oncology Reports 2018 September 10, 20 (10): 81

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review aims to outline the general principles of how to build a cardio-onco-hematology clinic, acknowledging that there are diverse practices ranging from private community settings to academic hospitals and each practice environment has to build its own program.

RECENT FINDINGS: The refinement of regimens and introduction of molecularly directed therapies have substantially increased survival rates for patients with cancer. In fact, a number of previous imminently fatal malignant disease processes have been turned into chronic diseases, such that patients now live with certain incurable cancers as they do, for instance, with rheumatoid arthritis. Improved cure rates and longer survivals have raised side effects of cancer treatments to a completely new level of significance. Cardiovascular toxicities are of particular concern given their impact on morbidity and mortality. In most extreme cases, patients might be cured from cancer but remain debilitated or die prematurely because of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, not an insignificant proportion of cancer patients start cancer therapy with cardiovascular risk factors and diseases at baseline. With the aging of the population, this "joint venture" is only expected to increase with important implications for the management of cancer patients. Given the need for familiarity with both, cancer and cardiovascular diseases and their ever-evolving start-of-the-art therapy and interaction potential, specialized efforts have been invoked, which may collectively be termed "onco-cardiology," "cardio-oncology," or "cardio-onco-hematology." Herein, we provide recommendations for the creation and optimization of any such programmatic efforts.


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