August 8, 2013

I Never Knew

‘I NEVER knew’, three little words with potentially devastating consequences to the cancer survivor’s future health and wellbeing.

‘I NEVER knew’ that cancer therapy could hurt my heart.

Three words that break my heart AND fuel my passion: always have, always will.

I had the opportunity to join in a health chat entitled, Cancer Therapy: Can It Hurt Your Heart.

The short answer is YES.

Cancer therapy CAN hurt your heart.

The hour long chat was informative as Dr. Juan Carlos Plana, Dr. G. Thomas Budd, and Dr Karen James of CardioOncology at the Cleveland Clinic discussed both Radiation-Induced and Chemotherapy-Induced Cardiomyopathy, strongly encouraged evaluation by a qualified cardiologist prior to, during, and well after cancer treatment, and stressed the importance of knowing IF you are at risk for heart damage based on the treatment you receive[d].

I’d like to take the chat one step further and share with you some data that support the fact that most survivors are under-informed with regard to the implications of the life-saving therapy they have received. These implications are referred to as late effects.

These findings are from Kada-Lottick, MD et al as part of the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study.

  • While 74% of survivors could provide an accurate GENERAL summary of all the elements of the cancer history, NO ONE could provide an accurate DETAILED summary with detailed defined as the name of the cancer, whether or not DOXORUBICIN or DAUNORUBICIN was given, and the SITE of any RADIATION.
  • ¬†More that 50% of survivors did not know if they had been given anthracyclines [i.e. the -Rubicins] or the site of radiation
  • Almost 1/3 of survivors gave an inaccurate, non-detailed history
  • Only 1/3 of survivors believed that their cancer treatment could impact the future health and wellbeing
  • When asked if past treatment could lead to serious health problems across time, 35% said yes, 49% said no, and 19% did not know

This hour long chat highlighted the knowledge gaps among survivors and primary healthcare providers which served to re-affirm myHeart’s mission to educate and equip survivors and healthcare providers regarding late effects.

We invite you to join us in the effort so that not one survivor will say, ‘I never knew’, again.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of our invitation.

PS For the Cleveland Clinic’s Cardio-Oncology Screening Tool <<CLICK HERE>>



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