Prepping for Treatment
June 19, 2013 – Kathy LaTour
Children Are Not Little Adults
June 19, 2013 – Laura Beil
Autumn Colbert: A Daughter Undaunted
June 19, 2013 – Don Vaughan
The Power of Positive Thinking
June 19, 2013 – Jane Hill
The Health Hypothesis
June 19, 2013 – Jane Hill
Encouraging Words
June 18, 2013 – Don Vaughan
Andropause & Menopause
June 19, 2013 – Barbara Sadick
Treatment Snapshot
June 19, 2013 – Lacey Marlow
Tracking Down Infections
June 19, 2013 – Charlotte Huff
Susie's Story
June 19, 2013 – Kathy LaTour
Robert A. Kyle, MD
June 19, 2013 – Don Vaughan
Qi Gong May Improve Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Patients
June 19, 2013 – Elizabeth Whittington
And in Health: A Guide for Couples Facing Cancer Together
June 19, 2013 – Katherine Lagomarsino
Finding a Clinical Trial Just Got Easier
June 19, 2013 – Jon Garinn
Renewed Focus on Smoking Cessation
June 19, 2013 – Elizabeth Whittington
The National Race to End Womenís Cancer
June 19, 2013 – Jon Garinn
Genetic Variations Found in ALL Patients of Different Ethnicities
June 19, 2013 – Katherine Lagomarsino
Hospitals Need a Menu Makeover
June 19, 2013 – Len Lichtenfeld, MD
Jolieís Mastectomy Raises Awareness, Prompts Debate
June 19, 2013 – Lindsay Ray
Cancer Clusters and Congress
June 19, 2013 – Lena Huang
ASCO Updates
June 19, 2013 – Staff Reports
Know Your Options
June 19, 2013 – Carol Marcusen
Transcending Cure with Care
June 19, 2013 – Anne Falgoust Ott
Pipeline
June 18, 2013 – Lindsay Ray
Grapefruit Juice: Forbidden Fruit?
June 19, 2013 – Jeanne Erdmann
Up All Night?
June 19, 2013 – Lacey Marlow
Cancer Overtakes Heart Disease As Leading Cause Of Death In Hispanic Population
June 19, 2013 – Roxanne Nelson
Letters From Readers
June 19, 2013
Message From the Editor
June 19, 2013 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Silver Linings in Caregiving
June 19, 2013 – Jane Hill
Managing Expectations
June 18, 2013 – Barbara Sadick
Mind Over Matters
June 19, 2013 – Don Vaughan
Check Please: Choosing the Best Hospital for Your Cancer Surgery
June 18, 2013 – Charlotte Huff
Heart of the Matter: Cardiac Toxicity
June 17, 2013 – Kathy LaTour
Vital Signs: Recognizing and Managing Distress
June 18, 2013 – Laura Beil
Treating Multiple Myeloma From Every Angle
June 18, 2013 – Heather L. Van Epps, PhD
Prepping for Treatment
June 19, 2013 – Kathy LaTour
Children Are Not Little Adults
June 19, 2013 – Laura Beil
Autumn Colbert: A Daughter Undaunted
June 19, 2013 – Don Vaughan
The Power of Positive Thinking
June 19, 2013 – Jane Hill
The Health Hypothesis
June 19, 2013 – Jane Hill
Encouraging Words
June 18, 2013 – Don Vaughan
Andropause & Menopause
June 19, 2013 – Barbara Sadick
Treatment Snapshot
June 19, 2013 – Lacey Marlow
Tracking Down Infections
June 19, 2013 – Charlotte Huff
Currently Viewing
Susie's Story
June 19, 2013 – Kathy LaTour
Qi Gong May Improve Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Patients
June 19, 2013 – Elizabeth Whittington
And in Health: A Guide for Couples Facing Cancer Together
June 19, 2013 – Katherine Lagomarsino
Finding a Clinical Trial Just Got Easier
June 19, 2013 – Jon Garinn
Renewed Focus on Smoking Cessation
June 19, 2013 – Elizabeth Whittington
The National Race to End Womenís Cancer
June 19, 2013 – Jon Garinn
Genetic Variations Found in ALL Patients of Different Ethnicities
June 19, 2013 – Katherine Lagomarsino
Hospitals Need a Menu Makeover
June 19, 2013 – Len Lichtenfeld, MD
Jolieís Mastectomy Raises Awareness, Prompts Debate
June 19, 2013 – Lindsay Ray
Cancer Clusters and Congress
June 19, 2013 – Lena Huang
ASCO Updates
June 19, 2013 – Staff Reports
Know Your Options
June 19, 2013 – Carol Marcusen
Transcending Cure with Care
June 19, 2013 – Anne Falgoust Ott
Pipeline
June 18, 2013 – Lindsay Ray
Grapefruit Juice: Forbidden Fruit?
June 19, 2013 – Jeanne Erdmann
Up All Night?
June 19, 2013 – Lacey Marlow
Cancer Overtakes Heart Disease As Leading Cause Of Death In Hispanic Population
June 19, 2013 – Roxanne Nelson
Letters From Readers
June 19, 2013
Message From the Editor
June 19, 2013 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Silver Linings in Caregiving
June 19, 2013 – Jane Hill
Managing Expectations
June 18, 2013 – Barbara Sadick
Mind Over Matters
June 19, 2013 – Don Vaughan
Check Please: Choosing the Best Hospital for Your Cancer Surgery
June 18, 2013 – Charlotte Huff
Heart of the Matter: Cardiac Toxicity
June 17, 2013 – Kathy LaTour
Vital Signs: Recognizing and Managing Distress
June 18, 2013 – Laura Beil
Treating Multiple Myeloma From Every Angle
June 18, 2013 – Heather L. Van Epps, PhD

Susie's Story

Medical guidelines and personal experience helped three-time survivor Susie Leigh recognize post-cancer heart issues.

BY Kathy LaTour
PUBLISHED June 19, 2013

The American College of Cardiology Foundation and American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines address the diagnosis and management of heart failure in adults. However, some patients with cancer may be predisposed to the development of heart failure because of cardiotoxic effects of certain types of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy to the chest, but there are few specific monitoring recommendations.

Susie Leigh knows this and a lot more about being a cancer survivor. As an oncology nurse, she works with cancer patients in Tucson, Ariz., lectures around the country about survivorship issues and is a founding member and past president of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. She has also survived three cancer diagnoses: Hodgkin lymphoma at age 24, breast cancer at 43 and bladder cancer at 47. Now 65, Leigh has carefully watched her health.

When the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) both issued guidelines for adolescent and young adults that identified potential cardiac risk factors, including full chest radiation for Hodgkin lymphoma, she requested a baseline diagnostic test. An initial baseline echocardiogram, which uses sound waves to create a moving image of the heart, and electrocardiogram, which looks at the heart’s electrical signals, showing the rate and rhythm of a heartbeat, were considered normal.

Throughout 2012, Leigh’s shortness of breath and accompanying fatigue became progressively worse. While she generally attributed this to being out of shape, or possibly lung problems from her prior treatments, she returned to the Veteran Affairs Medical Center in early 2013 and just happened to see a former nurse practitioner who knew her cancer history. Blood work, chest X-ray, echocardiogram and pulse oximeter testing all pointed to heart problems. After a brief hospitalization, she learned her heart valves weren’t functioning correctly, leading to systolic heart failure.

In March, Leigh had a cardiac catheterization that resulted in stents placed to open two arteries. She will be following up in the coming months to see how well her heart recovers.

The American Heart Association lists a number of signs of heart failure. They are shortness of breath, persistent coughing or wheezing, build-up of excess fluid in body tissue, tiredness or fatigue, lack of appetite or nausea, confusion or impaired thinking and heart palpitations (where your heart feels like it is racing or throbbing). By themselves, any one sign of heart failure may not be cause for alarm. Survivors who have more than one of these symptoms, even if they haven’t received a diagnosis of any heart problems, should report them to a healthcare professional and ask for a cardiac evaluation.

Be the first to discuss this article on CURE's forum. >>
Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the General Discussions CURE discussion group.

Related Articles

1
×

Sign In

Not a member? Sign up now!
×

Sign Up

Are you a member? Please Log In