Cardio-oncology clinic

The cardio-oncology clinic at Spectrum Health provides comprehensive care for cancer patients who have cardiac risk factors, heart disease or may develop cardiac side effects from their cancer treatment.

Chemotherapy drugs used to treat different types of cancers, as well as radiation therapy to the chest, may have lasting side effects on the heart. The goals of the cardio-oncology clinic are:

  • To ensure cancer patients have well-controlled cardiac risk factors
  • To closely monitor and detect any potential cardiac side effects from certain chemotherapy agents
  • To treat and manage any potential cardiac damage that cancer patients may develop during and after treatment

Monitoring cardiovascular disease

When treating cancer, some of the treatments may cause lasting damage to your heart. This is especially true if you are at risk for heart disease.

The cardio-oncology clinic has a team of cardiologists and nurses from Corewell Health Grand Rapids Hospitals Fred & Lena Meijer Heart Center who work very closely with the cancer specialists at the Spectrum Health Cancer Center. We provide clinical assessment, comprehensive care, cardiac imaging for screening and monitoring and work closely with patients to help prevent potential cardiac complications of cancer treatment.

We treat patients at all stages of cancer treatment:

  • Prior to cancer treatment
    • We ensure that patients who have cardiac risk factors are optimized medically to reduce the likelihood of developing cardiac damage from certain chemotherapy agents
    • We assess risk and optimize the medical status of patients with cardiac issues or risk factors prior to surgical treatment
  • During cancer treatment
    • Certain chemotherapy medications may cause chest pain, shortness of breath, heart attacks, elevated blood pressure or heart failure. Some chemotherapy agents may also cause heart damage after cancer treatment is completed. We treat these or any cardiac symptoms that cancer patients may develop
  • We also utilize various cardiac imaging techniques, including echocardiography and cardiac MRI to assess for early signs of heart damage sometimes before patients even develop any symptoms. By close monitoring and early detection, we can initiate cardiac treatment and follow the patients' care as they continue their cancer treatment
  • After treatment and into survivorship
    • We monitor patients for late effects from chest radiation or chemotherapy
    • We care for cancer survivors who have developed cardiac disease or symptoms as a result of their cancer treatment

At any time, the cardio-oncology team is here to provide comprehensive cardiac care for patients with a diagnosis of cancer.

Cancer patients who may benefit from cardio-oncology clinic evaluation include those who have:

  • An abnormal electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • An abnormal echocardiogram (ECHO)
  • Poorly controlled cardiac risk factors such as
    • Elevated blood pressure
    • Elevated cholesterol levels
    • Smoking
    • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • A strong family history of heart disease
  • Personal history of heart disease
  • Cardiac symptoms
    • Chest pain
    • Shortness of breath
    • Lower extremity swelling or heart failure

For those who are at risk

When treating cancer, some of the treatments used to save your life, could also cause lasting damage to your heart. This is especially true if you are at risk for heart disease. Wissam Abdallah, MD, cardiologist discusses how he is involved in monitoring every stage of cancer