Dounya Schoormans, PhD

Since august 2013 I am employed as a postdoctoral researcher and Fellow of the Dutch Cancer Society at Tilburg University, the Netherlands. My research focusses on cardiovascular co-morbidity in cancer patients.
Due to the aging population and cardio-toxic cancer-therapies there is an increasing group of cancer patients who are diagnosed with cardiovascular co-morbidity. In the Netherlands it is estimated that around 20% of all patients have a cardiovascular disease (CVD) at the time of diagnosis. Moreover, a recent report by the Dutch Cancer Society estimated that another 35-65% develops a CVD within 5 years after diagnosis. Despite the large number of cancer patients with co-morbid CVD, the underlying mechanisms relating both conditions are unknown.
Therefore I focus on cardiovascular co-morbidities in cancer patients. More specifically, I try to answer the following questions: Which patients are prone to develop CVD? How can we identify these patients? Which factors are involved in the pathogenenesis of CVD? What are the behavioral and pathophysiological mechanisms through which these factors are involved in the pathogenesis of CVD? How does CVD impact clinical and patient-reported outcomes of cancer patients? The PROFILES registry can help us answer these questions. Knowledge on cardiovascular co-morbidity and its predictors is vital as a patient’s individual risk should be considered when opting for a treatment that has a high probability of cardiac complications. Moreover, these insights will help tailor future care for this vulnerable patient group.