This medical video explores ways in which to protect your child's heart after surviving Cancer.
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Jennifer Matthews: Today, 20-year-old Matthew Rienzo is healthy. But that wasn't always the case. When Matthew was 16, he was diagnosed with cancer. Matthew Rienzo: I basically, literally, looked at the doctor and said to him, I know I have been diagnosed with cancer, but I will not let this affect my life. Let me know what I have to do, and we will get this done. Jennifer Matthews: It took a year of chemotherapy to get it done, but with that treatment came a risk. Dr. Steven Lipshultz: 25 years later, we see very alarming rates of increased death related to heart problems in these children. Jennifer Matthews: So researchers searched for a way to make chemo safer for kids. Dr. Steven Lipshultz: We found one agent that was really very, very effective, did not reduce the oncologic efficacy, the ability to kill the cancer cells, but did seem to improve the ability of the heart to be healthy. Jennifer Matthews: That agent is Zinecard. It binds to iron in the blood and allows the chemo to bypass heart cells. Researchers gave the drug to children 30 minutes before they received chemo. Those who took it were about half as likely to have heart damage later in life. Doctor Lipshultz says the results are exciting. Dr. Steven Lipshultz: Having shed many a tear with a family and held many a hand and it is a wonderful feeling. Jennifer Matthews: Matthew and his sister know that feeling. Matthew Rienzo: Knowing that I had the Zinecard, it was almost like having like a protective shield, an extra little piece of hope. Jennifer Matthews: A piece of hope they both can appreciate. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.