A new cardio-oncology clinic at The University of Toledo Medical Center is focusing on the heart health of cancer survivors.
The clinic is held every Wednesday afternoon in the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center to assist patients to continue their chemotherapy and radiation care while minimizing the potential for a negative impact on their heart.“We want to minimize cardiotoxicity for those undergoing cancer treatments as well as decrease any long-lasting cardiovascular problems after treatment,” said Dr. Jodi Tinkel, medical director of ambulatory care at UTMC.
Tinkel, a cardiologist who is running the clinic, said cardiotoxicity could cause the heart muscle to weaken and not circulate blood as efficiently. It is a concern for some patients being treated for breast cancer, for example. Fortunately, not all chemotherapies cause cardiotoxicity.
“Oncologists could consider referring a patient to us if they think someone is at risk or has developed cardiac symptoms suggestive of toxicity,” she said. “We can image the heart using echocardiography with strain imaging, which detects toxicity at an earlier stage than routine echo.”
Tinkel also will consult with patients who are already suffering from cardiac problems because of previous chemotherapy treatments. Medications can be used to reduce the risk or help with existing cardiac problems.
This new clinic benefits UTMC’s cancer patients because all of the services will be conveniently located in the Dana Cancer Center.
“We want to treat those who are already affected and help those who might be at risk, but we don’t want to make patients afraid of their chemotherapy,” Tinkel said. “We want to see patients in our clinic so they can continue their chemotherapy and radiation without sacrificing their heart health.”