Survival from cancer has improved dramatically over the last decades and cancers which were previously inevitably fatal have become chronic diseases requiring continuous management. The average age of cancer patients is now 65, so that many individuals will have cardiovascular co-morbidities (cardiovascular disease) either under active treatment, or sub-clinical. It has long been known that cancer treatments can have adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and many of the mechanisms are understood, particularly for the obviously cardiotoxic drugs of the anthracycline family. Newer, biological agents and angiogenesis inhibitors, often used in combination, are adding a new dimension of complexity to the mix.
Dr Walker is leading an effort to establish a cardio-oncology service, based at UCLH, to support cancer services and be the focus of a research initiative. Such a development would serve to provide clinical care for oncology patients, since the success of a clinical programme is the fundamental pre-requisite to establishing a research base that might improve outcomes after cancer treatment.
Funding for two clinical research posts has been obtained from the Cardiometabolic Programme board of the Biomedical Research Centre at UCLH and two additional consultant cardiologists will contribute to the new cardio-oncology service. It is hoped that clinics will begin in 2015. Meanwhile, Dr Walker has begun an analogous service for private patients based at the Macmillan Cancer Centre at UCH.
For more information, contact Dr Walker’s PA, Tenzin Seldon, by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07554 005593 or 020 3447 9376 .
You can view Dr Walker talking about his cardiovascular-oncology work here: