Blood clots and cancer

Woman with hair loss due to cancer

Learn about the link between cancerA term for diseases in which cells grow abnormally with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph system. and deep vein thrombosisThrombosis refers to abnormal, life-threatening blood clots that form in the artery or vein. (DVTDeep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): The condition that describes when a blood clot, or thrombus, develops in a deep vein.)

It can come as an unpleasant surprise that cancerA term for diseases in which cells grow abnormally with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph system. patients need to be aware of the risks and warning signs of deep vein thrombosisThrombosis refers to abnormal, life-threatening blood clots that form in the artery or vein. (DVTDeep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): The condition that describes when a blood clot, or thrombus, develops in a deep vein.). After all, the two diseases seem worlds apart. So why does the link exist?We do not know all the reasons but can identify three main factors that impact your likelihood for developing a blood clot (DVTDeep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): The condition that describes when a blood clot, or thrombus, develops in a deep vein.): the type of cancerA term for diseases in which cells grow abnormally with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph system. you are diagnosed with, how it is being treated, and your level of physical activity. 

Types of cancerA term for diseases in which cells grow abnormally with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph system.

Certain types of cancerA term for diseases in which cells grow abnormally with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph system. are associated with a higher risk of DVTDeep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): The condition that describes when a blood clot, or thrombus, develops in a deep vein. than other cancerA term for diseases in which cells grow abnormally with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph system. types1. The reason for this is unclear.
Types of cancer

CancerA term for diseases in which cells grow abnormally with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph system. treatment

While your treatment is vital to fight your cancerA term for diseases in which cells grow abnormally with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph system., it may also increase your risk of blood clots (DVTDeep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): The condition that describes when a blood clot, or thrombus, develops in a deep vein.)2. ChemotherapyChemotherapy (also known as chemo) is a type of cancer treatment that uses one or several drugs in combination. and surgery can damage the walls of your blood vessels affecting the way they function. This can also lead to a blood clot3.When chemotherapyChemotherapy (also known as chemo) is a type of cancer treatment that uses one or several drugs in combination. kills cancerA term for diseases in which cells grow abnormally with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph system. cells, certain substances that can cause clotting are released into the blood stream4. Some types of chemotherapyChemotherapy (also known as chemo) is a type of cancer treatment that uses one or several drugs in combination. drugs are less likely to promote clotting than others3. It’s a good idea to ask your doctor about this so that you can be informed of any risks associated with the treatment you have been prescribed.

Interested to know more? Watch our video about the link between blood clots and cancerA term for diseases in which cells grow abnormally with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph system.



Activity

Staying active while you fight cancerA term for diseases in which cells grow abnormally with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph system. might feel like a challenge, but even light activity can be very beneficial. Staying active will help you keep blood moving through your veins so that you are less likely to develop a clot in the first place5– and you do not need to start an extreme fitness regime to get these benefits. Start by going for a brisk walk or playing with the kids. If you are on bed rest, ask your doctor if it is okay to walk around the house a bit. In any case, it’s good to find small, low-impact ways to keep your legs moving and your blood pumping.
Exercises for better blood circulation 

References

  1. Brown A “Preventing VTEVenous Thrombo Embolism. The formation of blood clots in the vein. When a clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the leg, it is called a deep vein thrombosis or DVT. If that clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs, it is called a pulmonary embolism or PE. in hospitalized patients with cancerA term for diseases in which cells grow abnormally with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph system.” Am J Health Syst Pharm 2012; 69(6), p. 469-481. 
  2. Horsted, F., West, J., & Grainge, M. J. "Risk of venous thromboembolism in patients with cancerA term for diseases in which cells grow abnormally with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph system.: a systematic review and meta-analysis" PloS Med 2012; 9(7), e1001275 
  3. Blann A.D. et al “Arterial and venous thrombosisThrombosis refers to abnormal, life-threatening blood clots that form in the artery or vein. in cancerA term for diseases in which cells grow abnormally with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph system. patients” Card Res Practice Vol 2011, p. 1-12 
  4. Reitsma, Pieter H., Henri H. Versteeg, and Saskia Middeldorp. "Mechanistic view of risk factors for venous thromboembolism." Arteriosclerosis, thrombosisThrombosis refers to abnormal, life-threatening blood clots that form in the artery or vein., and vascular biology 32.3 (2012): 563-568.
  5. Goldhaber S, Fanikos J, “Prevention of Deep Vein ThrombosisThrombosis refers to abnormal, life-threatening blood clots that form in the artery or vein. and Pulmonary Embolism” Circulation 2004; 110: e445-e447.

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