Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center Launches New Cardio-oncology Clinic

Cancer Center aims to protect the body’s most important muscle, the heart, during cancer treatment

(Baton Rouge, La.) Cardio-oncology is an important emerging field in cancer care and Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center remains on the cusp of ensuring the most comprehensive treatment at every level with its new specialized clinic focusing on heart health. Through this initiative, Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center and Our Lady of the Lake Heart & Vascular Institute are combining their individualized, innovative approaches to form the cardio-oncology clinic.

“As the number of cancer patients and survivors continues to rise nationwide, the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in patients who have received cancer therapies is also increasing,” said Leon Cannizzaro, M.D., lead of the cardio-oncology clinic and cardiologist, Our Lady of the Lake Louisiana Cardiology Associates. “Cardiotoxicity is a potential side effect of many cancer therapies. Anticancer drugs and radiation are designed to target and eliminate tumor cells, but there can also be collateral injury to other healthy tissues, like the heart. Patients at risk can benefit greatly by having their cardiac health closely monitored before, during and after treatment.”

Heart disease and cancer are the number one and two killers respectively in the United States. Patients with cancer have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease that may lead to an interruption in their cancer treatment and affect their long-term quality of life and overall survival. The Cancer Center’s newest clinic helps assess any heart issues a patient may have prior to cancer diagnosis, as well as any side effects that can occur during and following chemotherapy and radiation. Through screening and monitoring, patients’ cardiac needs are addressed, allowing the clinic team, in coordination with the patient’s oncologist, to prevent and proactively manage any heart conditions that may arise.

The cardio-oncology clinic is designed for patients with a history of cardiotoxicity due to chemotherapy or certain targeted therapies, history of pre-existing heart disease, history of cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity or tobacco use or a history of radiation therapy to the chest.

“This comprehensive approach of oncologists and cardiologists collaborating underscores the Cancer Center’s commitment to providing a multidisciplinary team approach to cancer care,” said Linda Lee, vice president, Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center. “Having a team of experts working together to develop and manage a patient’s treatment plan from the beginning gives our patients their best chance for beating cancer and reduces the opportunity for heart-related problems in the future. The partnership between the Cancer Center and the Heart and Vascular Institute will ultimately comprehensively enhance survivorship.”

For more information on the cardio-oncology clinic, visit


About Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center
As a regional destination for cancer care, Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center offers the most advanced technology and services provided by a dedicated team of nationally-recognized oncology experts. The Cancer Center provides best-practice, comprehensive care at every stage of the cancer journey, including disease site-specific multidisciplinary care teams, a robust clinical research program, extensive supportive care services and is the only facility in the Gulf South with the revolutionary Leksell Gamma Knife®Icon™. The American College of Surgeons has named the Cancer Center a recipient of its prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award for three consecutive survey cycles. As a nonprofit organization, donor generosity is essential to sustaining the mission of improving survivorship and lessening the burden of cancer for so many throughout Southeast Louisiana and beyond. For more information on the Cancer Center, and how you can become involved, please visit