They’re the two deadliest diseases in the United States, but a new local program is now combining the care for patients with heart disease and patients with cancer.
Dr. Anita Arnold, a cardiology oncologist with Lee Health, says it’s not uncommon for cancer patients to develop heart conditions. “One is the patient who is having cardio toxic chemotherapy, who was perfectly healthy before other than their cancer, those people need to be monitored. Alternatively there’s the cardiac patient who already has cardiac issues who later develops cancer.”
Both types of patients need to have their cancer and heart monitored, especially when they start having side effects of both diseases. “For example someone who tells me they are extremely short of breath, is it because they have lung cancer or is it because they are becoming deconditioned, do they need certain types of rehab,” said Dr. Arnold.
These questions prompted the cardio-oncology rehabilitation. The new rehab is equipped with health experts from both specialists who monitor the patient’s heart and cancer. “It’s extremely helpful to have an oncologic rehab person and a cardiac rehab person sitting side by side evaluating the same patient,” said Dr. Arnold. Something, patient Suzanne Marceau agrees with. “I think this would be good for everybody because there are a lot of cancers that affect the heart and you don’t realize, I never would have thought this would happen.”
After being diagnosed with multiple myeloma, Suzanne was later diagnosed with amyloidosis of the heart. “Proteins from the cancer went into the heart and damaged the heart,” said Suzanne. She is now working with both experts in the cardio-oncology rehab.
The new rehab is designed to protect the patient’s overall health.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.