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Cardio-oncology is a medical specialty focusing on the cardiovascular (related to the heart and blood vessels) health of patients with cancer as well as cancer survivors.

Cancer patients and cancer survivors have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease than the general population. This can involve all parts of the heart—including the muscle, valves and sac—and blood vessels. 

In addition, some cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can be toxic to the cardiovascular system by damaging or killing the cells. This is known as cardiovascular toxicity. Chemotherapy medicines that can cause cardiovascular toxicity include anthracyclines (Adriamycin), which are commonly used to treat breast cancer, lymphoma and sarcoma, and Herceptin, which is often used to treat breast cancer, in addition to many newer chemotherapy agents.

Heart health and cancer can be connected in other ways, too. For example, if you have or are at risk of having a heart condition, it may be necessary for you to visit a cardio-oncology specialist prior to undergoing cancer treatment (surgery, radiation or chemotherapy).

At Indiana University Health, our goal is to provide the most effective cancer care possible while also maintaining your cardiovascular health. Our experts in cardiology and oncology (cancer care) work together to help patients who:

  • Have a personal or family history of heart problems and need cancer treatment.
  • Are undergoing cancer treatment and experience cardiovascular problems as a side effect of their treatment or are at risk of developing such problems. Examples include hypertension, low blood pressure, arrhythmia, pericarditis, heart attack and heart failure.
  • Have cardiovascular disease as a result of cancer elsewhere in the body. Examples of these cardiovascular conditions include cardiac amyloidosis and carcinoid heart disease.
  • Have a cardiac (heart) tumor.

As the first Cardio-Oncology Program in Indiana, we aim to be a leader in patient care, education and research. We collaborate with your cancer care team to select the best available therapies to provide excellent results while preserving cardiovascular health. We use the latest diagnostic techniques to identify patients with cancer and cancer survivors who are at risk of developing cardiovascular conditions. We design treatment plans to prevent such conditions from developing or diagnose them at an early stage before they become more serious.

In patients who have already developed cardiovascular problems as a result of cancer treatment, we provide both immediate treatment and long-term follow-up care to promote the full recovery of heart health, ensuring the best possible quality of life. In addition, we invest in educating patients, staff and fellow physicians about the importance of cardiovascular health in cancer patients and cancer survivors. Through our strong association with the Indiana University School of Medicine, we offer leading edge clinical research opportunities and have access to novel therapies and diagnostic technologies that are not yet commonly available.

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Cardio-Oncology Treatment Information

At IU Health, our Cardio-Oncology services and treatments include:

Cardio-Oncology Locations & Physicians

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Search for a specialist and Cardio-Oncology treatments available in your area.

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Cardio-Oncology Support Services

These trusted websites provide more information about heart care, cancer care and Cardio-Oncology.