The Karen Yontz Center for Cardio-Oncology at Aurora Health Care is well into its second year of operation and has treated more than 140 people since it launched in early 2016. The impact it’s having on patients is clear.
“More cancer patients who are at risk of cardiac complications have access to advanced, customized care based on their risk factors and the latest research available,” said Rubina Qamar, MD, one of the physicians on the cardio-oncology team. Dr. Qamar leads two research studies focusing on cardio-oncology through Aurora Research Institute.
Aurora’s cardio-oncology program features a unique collaboration between Aurora’s cardiology and cancer experts to identify and help prevent and treat cardiac health issues that stem from cancer treatment. A generous donation from the late Ken Yontz helped start the program. He lost his wife, Karen, to heart disease believed to be related to her cancer treatment.
“Many of the disease pathways are shared between cancer and cardiology,” explained oncologist Michael Thompson, MD. “There is potential to decrease cardiovascular toxicity while retaining cancer effectiveness. This may include the use of pharmacogenetics to better understand how to individualize cancer therapy for patients.”
A database monitors patients who are treated with potentially cardio-toxic chemotherapy. Depending on their risk, some patients require heart screenings before, during and after treatment.
“We evaluate current health history and provide recommendations for risk factor modifications to improve their overall cardiac health,” said Jodi Burany, APNP.
As the program continues, it could have a particular impact on the treatment of women because many of the drugs being studied are often used to treat breast cancer.
How you can help
To learn more about how you can support research that benefits Aurora’s cardio-oncology program, visit give.aurora.org/gala.