Explore This Treatment Program

Overview: Coordinated, Patient-centered Approach to Treatment

The Cardio-Oncology Program at Massachusetts General Hospital is an initiative between the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center and the Mass General Cancer Center, two top-ranked centers at the forefront of patient care and research.

Patients with cancer may have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, as cancer therapies may affect the heart and vascular systems. It is important to prevent, monitor and treat cardiovascular disease in cancer survivors and patients to ensure long-term health. Our team of leading cardiologists and oncologists collaborate to provide comprehensive cardiovascular care to patients with cancer who have, or are at risk for, heart disease.

Diagnosis & Evaluation of Cardiac Tumors 

At Mass General, we have state-of-the-art imaging technology to evaluate cardiac (heart) tumors, which are abnormal growths in the heart or heart valves. This imaging technology includes:

  • Echocardiography (with 3-D imaging), which provides an ultrasound of the heart
  • Cardiac computed tomography (CT), which uses an X-ray machine that moves around the body to take images of each part of the heart
  • Cardiac MRI, a type of MRI that creates images of the heart and major blood vessels
  • Positron emission tomography (PET), which provides a 3-D image of functional processes in the body

Treatments: Comprehensive Cardiovascular Care

We provide the following services:

  • Risk Assessment Prior to Cancer Treatment
    Before undergoing medical or surgical treatments for cancer, it is important to understand your risk for developing cardiovascular disease. We work closely with your oncologist and provide a comprehensive evaluation prior to cancer therapy to minimize any potential cardiovascular complications from cancer treatment. We combine a complete, personalized assessment with appropriate diagnostic testing and optimal cardiovascular therapies to help ensure your best outcome. 
  • Care for Cancer Patients with Existing Cardiovascular Disease
    Management of conditions such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, heart valve disease and arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) in cancer patients requires an approach customized to their overall care. Our goal is to treat existing cardiac conditions so that you are healthy enough to respond well to your cancer treatment.
  • Advanced techniques in echocardiography can be used to detect heart dysfunction due to cancer therapy at an earlier stage.
  • Monitoring for Cardiac Complications from Cancer Therapy
    If you are actively receiving chemotherapy or have previously completed chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, you may experience symptoms related to hypertension, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, valvular heart disease, pericardial disease and arrhythmias. With early recognition and treatment, many complications of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy can be managed successfully.
  • Assessment of Long-term Cardiac Risk in Cancer Survivors
    There is increasing evidence that shows that survivors of cancer face higher risks of cardiovascular disease. We provide a comprehensive risk assessment that includes a detailed history, physical examination, lab work and diagnostic testing. Strategies to reduce cardiac risk include dietary and lifestyle modifications and, when appropriate, medical therapy.
  • Assessment of New Chemotherapies
    Many of the new chemotherapeutic agents in clinical and pre-clinical studies have the potential to damage the heart (cardiotoxicity). We administer advanced diagnostic tests to identify cardiotoxicities for patients undergoing treatment with new chemotherapies. These may include diagnostic imaging, noninvasive stress testing, serum biomarkers (blood tests which can indicate heart dysfunction), ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and ambulatory cardiac telemetry (continuous monitoring of a patient’s heart from a remote location) can help identify cardiotoxicities and lead to the development of preventative strategies.

The Patient Experience

During your first consultation, your care team will conduct a physical examination and review your medical history. Our consultations are performed by cardio-oncologists who provide specialized cardiac care to cancer patients and cancer survivors. 

If you are a new patient, we ask that you bring a list of the medications, vitamins and herbal supplements that you take, along with information on dosages. Additionally, please bring any medical records, CDs of images, consultation notes, and notes on previous treatments and their effectiveness. We use this information at the time of your first visit to get a complete picture of you and your overall condition in order to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

We may recommend additional testing if needed and will help coordinate any scheduling. Our team will collaborate with your referring physician and ensure that he or she is aware of any test results and next steps in your treatment.

One Call Coordinates Care

Our dedicated nurse coordinator is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm to take relevant information about your condition and make a timely appointment with our team. Call 866-644-8910 to speak to a nurse coordinator or request an appointment online.

If you are a physician and would like to refer your patient to the Cardio-Oncology Program, please call 866-644-8910.

We see patients as soon as possible and coordinate care with our multidisciplinary team.

Research: Advancing Cardio-Oncology Care

As an academic medical center, Mass General invests in research to understand diseases and develop new approaches in treatment. Our doctors are leaders within their respective fields and collaborate with colleagues in various departments across the hospital. As a patient, you can benefit from shared expertise, leading research, and our commitment to quality and excellence.

The goal of the research conducted in the Cardio-Oncology Program is to prevent cardiovascular complications associated with cancer and cancer treatments. Our research studies use novel cardiovascular imaging techniques (advanced ultrasound, CT and MRI) and the measurement of substances found in blood to follow patients. There are three main areas where these advanced techniques are applied: 

  • Supervising and monitoring patients to closely follow the progression of any existing heart or vascular disease
  • Detecting any emerging cardiac or vascular issues during cancer treatments
  • Testing whether selected novel treatments can prevent the occurrence or limit the progression of cardiovascular complications associated with cancer and cancer treatments

There may be an opportunity to participate in one of our research studies. Your cardio-oncologist can help you determine if you are eligible for a study.