21 September 2011
Blood clots in cancer patients are a more common complication than many doctors may realise, a recent study has found.
Research done on 30,000 people showed that as many as one in five patients risks developing a blood clot called venous thromboembolism, or VTE, within a year of getting treatment for some types of cancers.
In up to two per cent of the cases clots can be deadly, causing deep clots in the veins around the legs and pelvis which could travel to the arteries or lungs and lead to blocked blood flow.
The study, which will be reported on Monday (September 26th) at the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress in Stockholm, also found that out of the patients tested, bladder cancer carried the lowest risk of clots and pancreatic cancer the highest at 11.9 per cent.
Gary H Lyman, a professor of medicine and director of the comparative effectiveness and outcomes research programme at Duke Cancer Institute, led the study and suggested that knowing which patients are at highest risk of developing blood clots could lead to better preventive use of blood thinners.
Professor Lyman added that scientists do not fully understand why clots form during cancer treatment, but contributing factors could include blood clotting agents released by tumours, side effects of chemotherapy and health conditions such as anaemia.
Posted by Philip Briggs
Lyman Gary H., "Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) in Cancer Patients Receiving Chemotherapy: a Real-world Analysis of VTE Risk and the Impact of VTE on Healthcare Expenditure.", European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress in Stockholm, September 26th September 2011.
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