Chemotherapy and Heart Failure: A Tale of Two Diseases

Hospitals forming new departments to study the effect of cancer treatments on the heart

Sep 21, 2011, 08:00 ET from The Heart Failure Society of America

BOSTON, Sept. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The 15th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) will include presentations on the relationship between heart failure and chemotherapy as part of a session entitled "Cancer Chemotherapy and Cardiotoxicity."

Dr. Thomas Force will focus on the recent trend of collaboration between cardiologists and oncologists in his discussion "Long-Term Cancer Care and Cardiomyopathies."  Over the last several years, doctors have begun to understand the negative effect that some chemotherapeutic drugs can have on the heart. As a result of these discoveries, many hospitals are forming cardio-oncology departments to bring cardiologists and oncologists together in identifying these negative effects and developing better treatments.

"Recently, there has been an explosion in understanding the mechanisms that drive cancer, and the effects on the heart that inhibitors designed to stop tumor progression have," said Dr. Force, Professor of Medicine, Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA. "These newly-formed cardio-oncology departments are working together to prevent damage to the heart as a result of chemotherapeutic drugs, and are also serving as consultants for patients who are affected by cancer and heart failure."

Dr. Jean-Bernard Durand will also speak in this session. His presentation, "Is Chemotherapy Creating a Stage B Population that Needs Treatment?" will focus specifically on stage B patients who have had cancer and developed heart failure. Dr. Durand cites a study done by Saint Jude's Children's Hospital which found that of 2500 cancer survivors, nearly half have developed issues with their heart. To help combat this, he also advocates for more individualized care and collaboration between each patient's cardiologist and oncologist to reduce negative effects on the patient.  In the Dickens' story they exchanged prisoners, but with Cancer therapy and heart failure, sometimes we exchange diseases.  A patient may escape one only to be imprisoned by the other.

"A patient with heart disease and cancer has both the number one and two killers of Americans," said Dr. Durand, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, "We already know that chemotherapy has effects on the heart, but if doctors continue to work together to identify problems early, patients can complete cancer treatment with minimal further injury to the heart. Future development of drugs and treatments is dependent on cardiologist and oncologist collaboration."

For a complete list of annual meeting sessions or for details on attending the conference, call (617) 226-7183 or visit www.hfsa.org and click on Annual Scientific Meeting. There is no registration fee for accredited journalists. Interview areas will be available on-site in addition to a fully-staffed press room with phone and internet accessibility. You may follow news from the meeting on Twitter #HFSA.

About Heart Failure

Heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart muscle becomes weakened after it is injured, most commonly from heart attack or high blood pressure, and gradually loses its ability to pump enough blood to supply the body's needs. Many people are not aware they have heart failure because the symptoms are often mistaken for signs of getting older. Heart failure affects 4.6 to 4.8 million individuals in the United States. Demographic and clinical evidence strongly suggests that the prevalence of heart failure will increase throughout the next decade. Ten to 15 years ago heart failure was considered a "death sentence;" however, recent advances in treatment have shown that early diagnosis and proper care in early stages of the condition are key to slowing, stopping or in some cases reversing progression, improving quality of life, and extending life expectancy. For more information on heart failure, please visit www.abouthf.org.

About the Heart Failure Society of America

The Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) is a nonprofit educational organization, founded in 1994 as the first organized association of heart failure experts. The HFSA provides a forum for all those interested in heart function, heart failure research and patient care. The Society also serves as a resource for governmental agencies (FDA, NIH, NHLBI, CMS). The HFSA Annual Scientific Meeting is designed to highlight recent advances in the development of strategies to address the complex epidemiological, clinical and therapeutic issues of heart failure. Additional information on HFSA can be found at www.hfsa.org.

SOURCE The Heart Failure Society of America



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