Cardio-Oncology Services Growing in Number and Demand

Need for subspecialists increased due to more cancer survivors, aging population

FRIDAY, May 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Cardio-oncology is an emerging discipline and subspecialty in response to the rapidly growing number of patients with comorbid cardiovascular disease and cancer and the complexity of these conditions, according to a review published in the May 7 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Salim S. Hayek, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a review of dedicated efforts to meet the growing need for education and training of cardiovascular practitioners providing care to cancer patients and survivors.

The review describes how cardio-oncology specialists are involved in all aspects of cancer patients' care, including informing them of pretreatment risk and regimen selection, addressing the complex cardiovascular adverse effects of cancer therapy, and alleviating the heightened long-term risks for cardiovascular disease in survivorship. Since 2014, the number of centers offering cardio-oncology services has nearly doubled. Nearly half of cardiovascular training programs now incorporate cardio-oncology topics in their core curriculum. Authors say barriers to developing training programs in cardio-oncology include a lack of the following: funding and support, an accreditation process, a formalized training curriculum, and evidence of clinical benefit and economic feasibility of interventions.

"Inclusion of cardio-oncology as a component of general cardiology training programs is the first step at establishing a workforce capable of recognizing and managing the complex cardiovascular burdens associated with cancer in every community," the authors write.

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