Heart-healthy nutrition for cancer survivors

Chemo drugs can cause heart issues

plate of healthy food

Cancer treatment can affect the heart, so heart-healthy eating is especially important for cancer patients.

Cancer patients may develop heart-related issues as a result of chemotherapy or radiation. Common health concerns include heart failure, arrhythmias, blood clots, high blood pressure and myocardial ischemia (lack of blood flow to the heart muscle), which can lead to a heart attack.

Known as cardiotoxicity, the condition can show up during cancer treatment or even years after treatment for cancer. Studies have shown that up to one-third of cancer patients who receive chemotherapy drugs such as trastuzumab (Herceptin) and anthracyclines will develop cardiotoxicity.

With a goal of minimizing heart damage caused by these treatments, the University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center recently launched Michigan’s first Cardio-Oncology Program. The program is one of only a handful around the world with scientists and physicians working together to address the effects of cancer treatment on the heart.

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