Heart disease and cancer are the two leading causes of mortality globally. Cardiovascular complications of cancer therapy significantly contribute to the global burden of cardiovascular disease. Heart failure (HF) in particular is a relatively common and life-threatening complication. The increased risk is driven by the shared risk factors for cancer and HF, the direct impact of cancer therapy on the heart, an existing care gap in the cardiac care of patients with cancer and the increasing population of adult cancer survivors. The clear relationship between cancer treatment initiation and the potential for myocardial injury makes this population attractive for prevention strategies, targeted cardiovascular monitoring and treatment. However, there is currently no consensus on the optimal strategy for managing this at-risk population. Uniform treatment using cardioprotective medications may reduce the incidence of HF, but would impose frequently unnecessary and burdensome side effects. Ideally we could use validated risk-prediction models to target HF-preventive strategies, but currently no such models exist. In the present review, we focus on evidence and rationales for contemporary clinical decision-making in this novel field and discuss issues, including the burden of HF in patients with cancer, the reasons for the elevated risk and potential prevention strategies.

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