Cardio-Oncology: Cancer Treatment and Your Heart

What is a Cardio-Oncologist?

Cardio-oncology is a new field in cardiology. Cardio-oncologists are typically cardiologists who see cancer survivors or patients getting cancer treatment who develop side effects that affect the heart. Cardio-oncologists have a special interest in and knowledge about cardiac side effects of chemotherapy, targeted therapy and radiation to treat cancer. Since it is a fairly new field in cardiology, many U.S. cities do not yet have cardio-oncologists.

If you are having symptoms that you think could involve your heart, talk to your cancer doctor (oncologist) or primary care doctor. If your doctors are concerned, they can refer you to a cardiologist or a cardio-oncologist. Make sure to learn about what side effects can be caused by your cancer treatment. That way you can help to inform your health care team.  

How Do I Find a Cardio-Oncologist?

You may find a cardio-oncologist at many academic medical centers and other centers across the United States. Searching the department of cardiology website of the medical school nearest you can help you find a cardio-oncologist. Also, ask your cancer doctor as he or she may know a cardio-oncologist in the area.

Published: November 2017
Authors: William Stokes, MD; Priscilla Stumpf, MD; Lavanya Kondapalli, MD; Arthur Liu, MD, PhD
Medical Reviewers: Bonnie Ky, MD, MSCE; Debra Madden, BA; Charles Porter, MD; Karen Lisa Smith, MD, MPH

These modules were developed in collaboration with the Eastern Cooperative Group—American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ECOG-ACRIN) Cardiotoxicity Working Group and Patient Advocacy Group.

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