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Cardio-Oncology at The Physicians’ Clinic

March 20, 2013
The Physicians’ Clinic welcomes a new cardiologist this month. Dr Alexander Lyon, Consultant Cardiologist at The Royal Brompton Hospital, will be available for consultations with private patients and will run two clinics each week.

Dr Alexander Lyon, Consultant Cardiologist

Dr Lyon’s special clinical interests include:
  • Detecting and treating heart problems in patients with cancer, and particularly heart issues caused by cancer therapy.
  • The impact of severe stress on the heart – including Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (broken heart syndrome)
  • The use of gene therapy and stem cells to repair damaged heart tissues.

Dr Lyon’s expertise in Cardio-Oncology

At The Physicians’ Clinic, Dr Lyon will be available to two important groups of patients:
  • Those with pre-existing heart problems who are diagnosed with cancer, to optimise risk assessment prior to surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
  • Those who develop heart problems as a result of their cancer treatment.
As Clinical Lead at the new Cardio-Oncology Service which he has set up at the Royal Brompton Hospital, Dr Lyon is an expert at detecting such heart problems early and treating them decisively. He founded and is the current chair of the new UK Cardio-Oncology Consortium, coordinating leading heart failure specialists affiliated to several of the major cancer centres in the UK to learn more about the cardiac problems emerging in patients surviving cancer, and leading a national research programme in this field. His appointment at The Physicians’ Clinic will enable him to liaise with your oncologist and private GP to devise specific cardiac monitoring during chemotherapy protocols. These will allow early detection to prevent heart problems developing.

Heart injury after cancer treatment

“Modern cancer therapy is a huge success story. More people are living 5, 10 or even 20 years after their cancer diagnosis because of a revolution in cancer chemotherapy and the advent of ‘designer’ drugs such as Herceptin®. But in some patients, cardiotoxicity is the unfortunate side effect from the power of these drugs and their positive impact on cancer,” explains Dr Lyon. Cardiotoxicity, which describes the damage caused by cancer drugs to the structures of the heart, is common across many cancers treatments. In total, around a quarter of all people who survive cancer for 10 years may have some degree of heart injury.

Preventing heart injury during chemotherapy

Dr Lyon reassures patients that “this type of heart injury is complex, but frequently can be prevented or reversed if we take the right approach. Early detection is the key to prevent heart problems developing, and allowing the best cancer treatment to progress.” The multi-disciplinary team system at The Physicians’ Clinic will enable Dr Lyon to provide his expertise to specialists within the Clinic and to the oncologists who form Leaders in Oncology Care. “As in other areas of medicine, early detection and prevention is always better than trying to treat significant problems once they have already become established. I aim to work with cancer specialists to detect and treat any heart damage before it starts to cause symptoms. This allows patients to complete their course of chemotherapy or molecular targeted therapy, giving them a much higher chance of surviving to enjoy life free from both their cancer and free from treatment-related heart disease,” he says.
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