MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The WVU Cancer Institute and the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute are joining forces to improve cardiovascular outcomes for cancer patients. The new WVU Cancer Institute Cardio-Oncology Clinic will assist with the prevention, detection, monitoring, and treatment of cardiovascular toxicities related to cancer therapy, as well as provide optimal care to those with cancer and established cardiovascular disease.
“So much of the cancer population already has cardiovascular disease or will develop cardiovascular disease as a result of life-saving cancer treatment,” Christopher Bianco, D.O., leader of the cardio-oncology program, said. “The goal is to eliminate cardiac disease as a barrier to effective cancer therapies and to improve overall cancer survivorship.”
Currently, cancer patients receive cardiac care at the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute. The clinic will bring this specialized service to patients and providers within the WVU Cancer Institute. This allows patients to schedule appointments to see multiple providers on their care team in one location during their visit.
“We are promoting collaboration between the oncologists, cardiologists, and advanced imaging staff,” Dr. Bianco said. “These patients face so many challenges from both cancer and cardiovascular disease. By bringing our services into the Cancer Institute, we will be more actively involved in the cancer treatment team and help guide treatment throughout the patient’s longitudinal care.”
The clinic will give patients the opportunity to receive specialized preventive cardiovascular care by incorporating cardiologists into their cancer treatment team. Patients will have access to advanced cardiovascular imaging, cutting-edge diagnostic services, and advanced treatment modalities provided in collaboration with the WVU Medicine Advanced Heart Failure Program.
“Traditionally, we in the medical community have not done the greatest job of prevention of cardiovascular disease in cancer patients,” George Sokos, D.O., director of the Advanced Heart Failure Program at the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, said. “We want to prevent problems, such as adverse cardiac effects due to treatments, as much as possible, but some are unavoidable. In those cases, we want to be able to be there and be ready to provide treatment when needed.”
Cardio-Oncology Clinic hours at the WVU Cancer Institute will begin this summer.