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Heart cancer: Is there such a thing?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heart-cancer/AN01288
- With Mayo Clinic medical oncologist
Timothy J. Moynihan, M.D.read biographyclose window
Timothy J. Moynihan, M.D.Timothy Moynihan, M.D.
"As a practicing medical oncologist, I meet with patients and families every day to help manage their course through this disease called cancer. This experience provides unique insight into the needs of cancer patients, their families and loved ones and brings into sharp focus the need for reliable information to be readily available in terms that can be easily understood." — Dr. Timothy Moynihan
Dr. Timothy Moynihan believes that providing consumers with accurate, timely information on the broad, complex topic of cancer is the biggest challenge facing medical websites. As the guiding force behind our cancer content, he makes sure Mayo Clinic meets the test.
Dr. Moynihan, born in Las Vegas, N.M., and raised in Denver, is a consultant in medical oncology at Mayo Clinic and an associate professor at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minn. He's board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology, and hospice and palliative care medicine.
He did his medical oncology training at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and then went on to the University of Minnesota and St. Paul Regions Medical Center for seven years before moving to Mayo Clinic in 1999. Dr. Moynihan is medical director of the Mayo Clinic hospice.
Dr. Moynihan serves as the education chair for the Department of Oncology and the fellowship program director. Four times he has been selected as Teacher of the Year in medical oncology and elected to the Teacher of the Year Hall of Fame.
Past honors include distinguished clinical teacher at the University of Minnesota Medical School, best internist at the Medical College of Wisconsin and recipient of the Upjohn Achievement Award for Excellence in Medicine. Dr. Moynihan serves on several national committees for the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
"The Internet provides a ready source of information on a wide range of topics of interest to those affected by cancer," Dr. Moynihan says. "The difficulty is trying to decide which sites provide reputable information and which information is relevant to each individual patient. The long history and tradition of excellence associated with Mayo Clinic assures you that information provided will be reliable, up-to-date and comprehensive."
Heart cancer: Is there such a thing?
Is there such a thing as heart cancer?
from Timothy J. Moynihan, M.D.
Heart cancer (primary cardiac tumor) is cancer that arises in the heart. Cancerous (malignant) tumors that begin in the heart are most often sarcomas, a type of cancer that originates in the soft tissues of the body. The vast majority of heart tumors are noncancerous (benign).
Heart cancer is extremely rare. For example, a review of more than 12,000 autopsies identified only seven cases of primary cardiac tumor — an incidence of less than 0.1 percent. At Mayo Clinic, on average only one case of heart cancer is seen each year.
Although still rare, most cancers found in the heart have come from elsewhere in the body. These include lymphomas that originate in the chest near the heart. Other cancers that can spread to the heart include melanomas and sarcomas.
Heart cancer may cause the following:
- Obstruction of blood flow through the heart
- Stiffening of the heart muscle (cardiac fibrosis)
- Interference with heart valves (marantic endocarditis)
In cases of marantic endocarditis, the heart valves are damaged by the cancer, and it may cause the valves to malfunction. In severe cases, the heart valves may need to be replaced. Unfortunately, this is often a sign of very advanced cancer and carries a poor prognosis. Another rare type of cancer known as carcinoid tumor at times produces hormones that can damage heart valves.
Cancer treatments also can affect the heart. Certain chemotherapy drugs can cause damage to the heart. Radiation therapy directed at or near the heart also can cause damage to the heart muscle and increase the risk of coronary artery disease later in life. Data also suggests that some hormonal cancer therapies may increase the risk of heart disease.
- Shick EC, et al. Cardiac tumors. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed March 26, 2012.
- Bonow RO, et al. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0398-6..C2009-0-59734-6--TOP&isbn=978-1-4377-0398-6&about=true&uniqId=236798031-10. Accessed March 26, 2012.
- Simpson L, et al. Malignant primary cardiac tumors: Review of a single institution experience. Cancer. 2008;112:2440.
- Amir E, et al. Toxicity of adjuvant endocrine therapy in postmenopausal breast cancer patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2011;103:1299.
- Moynihan TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 26, 2012.