Our Cardio-Oncology Clinic at Scarborough Health Network (SHN) provides consultation services for cancer patients who are experiencing cardiovascular complications due to the disease and their cancer treatment.
Clinical data has shown that standard chemotherapeutic drugs and newly-developed agents for cancer treatment can have cardiac side effects. Drugs such as anthracyclines (doxorubicin, epirubicin) and HER-2 antagonists (Herceptin), which are very effective in the treatment of breast cancer and other cancers, can have cardio-toxic side effects that can affect the pumping function of the heart. Other new drugs that are very effective in treating cancer can have also have other effects on the cardiovascular system.
The Cardio-Oncology Clinic is led by a team of cardiologists with expertise in cardiac imaging, nurses, and a clerk, who work closely with SHN hematologists and oncologists to ensure patients can continue their cancer treatment while protecting their hearts.
Our commitment to excellence means providing the best care at all points during your visit. Our cardio-oncology team works in close contact with your cancer specialists to ensure a coordinated and seamless experience.
Risk assessment prior to cancer treatment
Before undergoing medical or surgical treatments for cancer, it is important to understand your risk for developing cardiovascular disease. We work closely with your oncologist and provide a comprehensive evaluation prior to cancer therapy to minimize any potential cardiovascular complications from cancer treatment. We combine a complete, personalized assessment with appropriate diagnostic testing and optimal cardiovascular therapies to help ensure your best outcome.
Care for cancer patients with existing cardiovascular disease
Management of conditions and symptoms such as chest pain, hypertension, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, heart valve disease and arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) in cancer patients requires an approach customized to their overall care. Our goal is to treat existing cardiac conditions so that you are healthy enough to respond well to your cancer treatment.
Monitoring for cardiac complications from cancer therapy
If you are actively receiving chemotherapy or have previously completed chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, you may experience symptoms related to hypertension, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, valvular heart disease, pericardial disease and arrhythmias. With early recognition and treatment, many complications of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy can be managed successfully.
Assessment of long-term cardiac risk in cancer survivors
There is increasing evidence that shows that survivors of cancer face higher risks of cardiovascular disease. We provide a comprehensive risk assessment that includes a detailed history, physical examination, lab work and diagnostic testing. Strategies to reduce cardiac risk include dietary and lifestyle modifications and, when appropriate, medical therapy.
Assessment of new chemotherapies
Many of the new chemotherapeutic agents in clinical and pre-clinical studies have the potential to damage the heart (cardiotoxicity). We administer advanced diagnostic tests to identify cardiotoxicity for patients undergoing treatment with new chemotherapies.
These may include:
- Diagnostic imaging such as nuclear imaging and echocardiography (using the latest three-dimensional techniques as well as methods to detect early toxicity and cardiac dysfunction)
- Non-invasive stress testing
- Serum biomarkers (blood tests which can indicate heart dysfunction)
- Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
- Ambulatory cardiac monitoring (Holter monitor; continuous monitoring of a patient’s heart from a remote location)
The Cardio-Oncology Clinic is open for appointments on Fridays. To refer a patient, please fax to 416-431-8193. For questions, or to learn more please call 416-438-2911.
Heart Function Clinic
Central Wing, 1st Floor