There's a spectrum of heart disease that's associated with cancer care, including high blood pressure, weakening of the heart muscle and congestive heart failure, according to Guilherme H. Oliveira, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Cardiology at M. D. Anderson. "The role of cardiac care in cancer treatment is becoming more important than ever," Oliveira says. "While newer cancer treatments offer patients a better chance of survival, many also have a direct impact on the cardiac system." For example, Oliveira explains that newer targeted therapies zero in on and destroy the molecules that are essential for the survival of cancer cells. But these are the same molecules that are vital for optimal functioning of heart cells.
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