If you are having cancer treatment (or had treatment in the past), it’s important to understand the possible impact on your heart. Here are some of the questions you might have, with answers from cancer information development nurse, Hilary.

I’m having cancer treatment. Should I be worried about my heart?
Cancer treatment doesn’t always affect heart health. But for some people it can cause:

  • temporary or permanent heart problems
  • heart problems during or soon after treatment
  • heart problems that only happen many years later.

The risks are different for each person. It can depend on the type and dose of treatment you are having, and what your heart health is like before you start. Ask your cancer doctor or nurse to explain more about your situation.

What will my healthcare team do to protect my heart?
If there is a risk to your heart health, your team will plan your treatment to reduce the risk. You might have tests to check your heart health before, during and after treatment.

If you develop any heart problems during treatment, your cancer doctor may suggest adjusting your treatment plan to prevent further damage. Sometimes you might also need treatment for the heart problem – such as medicines.

When you finish cancer treatment, your doctor should explain:

  • if you have a risk of heart problems in the future
  • any symptoms you should look out for
  • if you should have follow-up appointments or tests to check your heart health.

What can I do to help my heart?
You can improve your heart health at any age, even if you already have a heart problem. Even small changes to your diet or lifestyle can make a difference. Try to keep your heart healthy before, during and after cancer treatment.

Go to any heart follow-up appointments you are offered, even if you don’t have any symptoms of heart problems.

If you do develop any symptoms of heart problems, tell your doctor straight away.

Can you tell me more about cancer treatments and heart health?
Yes! We’ve written lots about this in partnership with the awesome nurses at the British Heart Foundation. It’s for anyone who:

  • has been told their cancer treatment may affect their heart
  • had a heart condition before starting cancer treatment
  • wants to know more about keeping their heart healthy.

You can get a free copy of Heart health and cancer treatment.

Or find more on our website about:

Can you tell me more about heart problems?
We have some information about heart problems. You can find lots more on the British Heart Foundation website.


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