Several medical societies have committed themselves, through a document, to ensure cardiovascular health after the return to work of cancer patients. The endorsed document includes a series of processes of care continuity and prevention of cardiotoxicity in the workplace aimed at improving the control of cardiovascular risk and health of patients with a history of cancer or with cancer in active treatment.
It has been signed, among others, by the Spanish Society of Cardiology (SEC) and Medical Oncology (SEOM), Hematology and Hemotherapy (SEHH) and General and Family Physicians (SEMG), and will serve for the coordinated management of workers with cancer and cardiovascular risk because it is estimated that one in three cancer patients will end up developing complications of the cardiovascular system throughout their lives.
Beyond monitoring patients during cancer treatment, it is the mission and objective of Cardio-Onco-Hematology to make long-term follow-up of those who have received potentially cardiotoxic treatments, for which it is necessary to involve other specialists, especially Occupational Health toilets when it comes to active workers.
In addition to facilitating the reincorporation of onco-hematological patients to their jobs, it seeks to ensure a return in conditions of occupational fitness without risks, an active monitoring of their cardiovascular health with health promotion campaigns, minimizing cardiovascular complications to medium and long term, promoting a healthy lifestyle and favoring referral protocols when developing new cardiovascular symptoms or signs of possible relapse.
As Teresa López, a member of the SEC and coordinator of the Cardio-Onco-Hematology Group explains, “the return of cancer patients to their working life is a primary objective as soon as possible.” In this sense, “the involvement of specialists in medicine and nursing at work is fundamental because of the key position they occupy in the work environment.”
For Juan Antonio Virizuela, representative of SEOM, “the return to the working world of a patient who has had an oncological disease is a difficult path, since it must be a decision taken reflexively by the patient with the support of the medical team that has taken its oncological process and the different specialties involved in it ”.
For her part, Isabel Egocheaga, responsible for the Cardiovascular Area of the SEMG, recalls that family doctors participate in the care of cancer patients during “the whole process”, but “patients work, in many cases they require sick leave and subsequently they return to their jobs ”. Therefore, he points out, “in this assistance circuit of the working patient, close coordination of primary care teams and doctors and nurses of work is of great importance.”
In the opinion of the coordinator of the Working Group of Guidelines and Clinical Protocols of the Spanish Association of Specialists in Occupational Medicine (AEEMT), Teófila Vicente, “patients with cancer or a history of cancer can be considered as workers of special sensitivity due to their status Biological and therefore it is necessary to optimize the protocols of periodic health evaluations, detect the degree of susceptibility that they may present to the existing risk factors in their current or future job and involve them in the care of their cardiovascular health ”.
The Spanish Association of Nursing in Cardiology (AECC) also adheres to the document under its objective of “prevention, promotion and maintenance of the population's health, especially in the cardiovascular field, in order to reduce the impact of cardiovascular diseases in any health field ”, as explained by its president, Concepción Fernández.