Aurora center to study effect of cancer treatments on heart health

New program will track effects of certain treatments

Aurora Health Care is launching a research and support program that will monitor patients’ cardiovascular health during and after certain treatments.

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The program, called the Karen Yontz Center for Cardio-Oncology, is a partnership with the Karen Yontz Women’s Cardiac Awareness Center, which is located at the St. Luke’s Medical Center.

The center will include a team of researchers and physicians who will develop customized cancer treatment plans to minimize negative cardiovascular effects on patients.

The center will also develop a database tracking the effects of certain treatments on cardiovascular health.

As cancer treatments improve and survival rates increase, certain cardiovascular problems, such as strokes and congestive heart failure, have begun to emerge among patients and survivors that may be linked to certain treatments.

“Some cancer treatment options are known to have possible negative impact on a person’s cardiovascular health,” said Dr. Bijoy Khandheria, an Aurora cardiologist. “With the support of the new Karen Yontz Center for Cardio-Oncology, we hope to better identify more specific details about what treatments may impact a certain type of patient based on age, ethnicity and other factors.”

The center will use new imaging techniques to study patient’s cardiovascular systems, which could allow doctors to detect abnormalities early that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

“It’s important that our past, current and future patients understand that there can be heart-health implications from certain types of cancer treatments, and this initiative will educate people and collect data that will one day save lives,” said Dr. James Weese, surgical oncologist and vice president of Aurora Cancer Services.

Aurora is holding an event to launch the center on June 2 at the Milwaukee Art Museum that will include a panel discussion with Aurora doctors who specialize in heart, vascular and cancer care.

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Ben Stanley, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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