Updated: Nov 12
Heart disease such as having a heart attack is the leading cause of death in America for those after the age of 55 years. Studies show that medical conditions that increase your chances of having heart disease can also increase your chances of having cancer. To overcome these challenges, the fields of "preventive cardiology" (generally preventing heart disease like heart attacks) and "preventive cardio-oncology" (may be thought of as preventing heart disease and cancer) seek to help patients maintain and improve their heart health and avoid developing cancer. Many studies have examined these revolutionary fields and their great benefits.
This article explores these two fields, why they are so important, and how they help with cancer treatments/avoidance and patient health. Using the current research, we will look into these two crucial medical fields and how they assist cancer patients and survivors in maintaining their health. Let’s get into what preventive cardiology is first.
What is Preventive Cardiology
Preventive cardiology is a branch of medicine that deals with preventing heart disease or "cardiovascular disease". Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in the United States, so preventive cardiology is a required field.
Preventive cardiology focuses on many different areas. One crucial area is risk factor management. This means helping people to control their blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. These are all risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Another critical area is lifestyle management. This means helping people to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking.
Preventive cardiology also involves screening for cardiovascular disease. This means testing people who may be at risk for the disease. Screening can help to find the condition early when it is most treatable.
What is Preventive Cardio-Oncology
Preventive cardio-oncology is a relatively new field of medicine that focuses on preventing or minimizing the heart-related (or "cardiac") side effects of cancer treatments. Some health professionals in preventive cardio-oncology also focus on improving heart health in order to prevent cancer development or recurrence. This is because it is common today for a patient to have cancer and cardiovascular disease simultaneously, or instead one after the other. While cancer treatments have become increasingly influential in recent years, they can still take a toll on the heart, and this can be a significant concern for patients and their families.
Preventive cardio-oncology programs typically include lifestyle counseling, risk factor modification, medication use to protect your heart and prevent cancer (new cancer or cancer coming back), and surveillance for early signs of cardiovascular disease or cancer. Lifestyle counseling can help cancer patients adopt healthy behaviors that can reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease. Risk factor modification can involve using medications to control high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Surveillance for early signs of cardiovascular disease can help cancer patients receive early treatment, improving their prognosis.
Why Preventive Cardio-Oncology is Significant
With more than 20 million cancer survivors in the US, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of cancer death or recurrence. Preventive cardio-oncology is looking into the connections between cancer treatment and heart health, ultimately working to tackle cardiotoxicity.
By preventing cardiovascular disease, we can help limit cancer recurrence and ultimately protect patients in remission. Cancer survivors are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease because of the treatments they receive, so it is essential to be proactive in preventing this disease through this new field of a medical study.
The hope is that in the future, this field of medicine will only continue to help patients live long, healthy, and prosperous lives after defeating cancer. More people are surviving cancer and living long and healthy lives thanks to medical technology and treatment advances. Of course, many challenges still need to be addressed, but the future looks promising with the rise of preventive cardio-oncology.