This innovative program monitors chemotherapy’s effect on the heart before, during and after treatment.
Cancer treatments, especially for breast, can harm your heart. That’s why Health Quest has created the Cardio-Oncology program. It’s a seamless approach to treating cancer and how its therapy affects your heart. Cancer specialists work together with cardiovascular specialists from The Heart Center to develop a plan designed to maximize cardiovascular outcomes during and after cancer treatment. And it’s the first and only program of its kind in the Hudson Valley.
Meet the Providers
Health Quest breast cancer teams include board certified diagnostic radiologists, pathologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, endocrinologists, geneticists and surgeons. Other team members include oncology-trained nurses, genetic counselors, patient navigators, registered dietitians, and physical and occupational therapists. All are committed to identifying and implementing the best breast cancer treatment plan for each individual patient.
Assessing the Heart’s Condition Before Treatment Begins
The program starts as soon as you are diagnosed with cancer, regardless of whether you have a pre-existing heart condition. Your oncologist will alert the cardiologist, who will be able to see you within 24 to 48 hours to conduct an initial assessment, which usually consists of a
3D Echocardiogram of your heart and other imaging tests. These tests establish a baseline evaluation, which is used to compare future heart tests throughout your cancer treatment.
Coordinated Care During and After Treatment
Radiation and chemotherapy treatments use cardio-toxic agents, which are known to cause heart complications such as heart failure. Chemotherapy for breast cancer is especially hard on the heart, due to the heart’s proximity to the breast, but other cancer treatments also take a toll on the heart.
To monitor the cumulative effect of cardiac toxicity and make therapy adjustments as necessary, Cardio-Oncology ensures the oncologist and cardiologist coordinate care:
- They work together on a treatment plan.
- They communicate constantly, noting progress and immediately addressing any issues that may arise.
- They respect the patient’s time, making it easy to schedule cardio and oncology appointments on the same day, which reduces patient stress.
Once treatment is over, the cardiologist arranges a follow-up heart test, with the timeframe depending on the patient’s case. It is important to continue to monitor the heart as problems can arise 10 to 20 years after treatment.
A Registry to Help Improve Outcomes
Because Cardio-Oncology is a new medical service, we are keeping a growing registry of patients who have participated in the program. We hope to share results through published, peer-reviewed articles that help advance this new service and improve outcomes for cancer patients.
Cancer Support Groups
The Oncology Navigator is a nurse who is with the patient, every step of the way—from diagnosis through treatment and beyond. The Oncology Navigators work closely with physicians and staff to help ensure that patients understand as much as possible about their treatment. They also help patients and families find the best support for their needs.
Our in-person cancer support groups include:
- Breast and Ovarian Cancer Support Group: Professional social workers and nurses lead discussions on ways to cope with illness and treatments. For more information, please call Elizabeth Bourne, Social Worker at (845) 214-1828.
- Introduction to Chemotherapy: Led by oncology nurses, helps patients prepare for chemotherapy and or/radiation therapy. For more information, please call (845) 483-6408.
- Healthy Eating for Oncology Patients: For more information please contact Chelsea Thorpe, RD, CDN at (845) 214-7384.
- Living with Lymphedema: Led by occupational and physical therapists, helps patients coping with lymphedema. For more information, please call (845) 437-6331.
- Look Good, Feel Better: Helps cancer patients manage cosmetic and hair loss side effects. For more information, please call (800) 227-2345.
- Reach to Recovery: Provides one-on-one support for breast cancer patients by breast cancer survivors. For more information, please call (800) 227-2345.
- Women Moving Through Breast Cancer: Provides emotional and spiritual tools to women who have breast or any reproductive cancer or are supporting someone who has cancer, or who want to prevent cancer.
- Partnership with Support Connection, Inc.: Offers free, confidential services led by counselors who are also breast and ovarian cancer survivors.