How is heart cancer treated?

Treatments for heart cancer are designed to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

Goal of cancer treatment

The goal of heart cancer treatment is to permanently cure the cancer or to bring about a complete remission of the disease. Remission means that there is no longer any sign of the disease in the body, although it may recur or relapse later.

Common treatments for heart cancer

Treatments for heart cancer include:

  • Chemotherapy to attack cancer cells and manage symptoms
  • Dietary counseling to help people with cancer maintain their strength and nutritional status
  • Palliative care to improve the overall quality of life for families and patients with serious diseases
  • Participation in a clinical trial that is testing promising new therapies and treatments for heart cancer
  • Physical therapy to help strengthen the body, increase alertness, reduce fatigue, and improve functional ability during and after cancer treatment
  • Radiation therapy to attack cancer cells and manage symptoms
  • Surgery to remove cancer and preserve function of the heart

Complementary treatments

Some complementary treatments may help some people to better deal with heart cancer and its treatments. These treatments, sometimes referred to as alternative therapies, are used in conjunction with traditional medical treatments. Complementary treatments are not meant to substitute for full medical care.

Complementary treatments may include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Yoga

Hospice care

In cases in which heart cancer has progressed to an advanced stage and has become unresponsive to treatment, the goal of treatment may shift away from curing the disease and focus on measures to keep a person comfortable and maximize the quality of life. Hospice care involves medically controlling pain and other symptoms while providing psychological and spiritual support as well as services to support the patient’s family.

What are the potential complications of heart cancer?

Complications of heart cancer can be serious, even life threatening in some cases. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of heart cancer include:


What is heart cancer?

Primary cancers of the heart, in which the cancer starts and develops in the heart, are very rare. Metastatic tumors in the heart, in which the cancer originated at another location and spread to the heart, occur more frequently than primary heart cancers, although they are also not common. The American Cancer Society estimated that about 10,000 new cases of soft tissue cancers (including ... Read more about heart cancerintroduction


What are the symptoms of heart cancer?

Initially, heart cancer may not have any symptoms. When symptoms develop, they often resemble those of heart disease. The symptoms of heart cancer can occur suddenly.... Read more about heart cancersymptoms


What causes heart cancer?

The cause of heart cancer is not known. As with any cancer, changes occur inside the cells, which lead to alteration of their function and uncontrollable growth. These types of changes can occur in any of the cells of the heart.... Read more about heart cancercauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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