Warning signs of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

Man holding his leg in pain

Discovering DVT early can help you take action fast, and get back to focusing on what matters.

With your primary disease in focus, it can be easy to mistake symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE) with side effects of your surgery or cancer treatment. However, just knowing warning signs can give you peace of mind and help you recognise them early.
DVT can become more serious or life threatening if it travels to the lungs. That’s why it’s extremely important to treat it early. DVT is most likely to occur in the first few months of a cancer diagnosis1.

How obvious are the signs of DVT?

The signs of DVT are not always that obvious. With the focus rightfully on treating cancer, DVT rarely comes up in oncologist appointments. That means many cancer patients are unaware they may be at high risk of developing DVT. They are therefore not looking for signs of DVT or they are mistaking signs of DVT for side effects of their cancer treatment. Furthermore, different people experience different symptoms. Some people experience noticeable pain and discomfort while some don’t feel a thing.

What are the signs and symptoms of DVT?

The signs of DVT are not always that obvious. With the focus rightfully on treating cancer, DVT rarely comes up in oncologist appointments. That means many cancer patients are unaware they may be at high risk of developing DVT. They are therefore not looking for signs of DVT or they are mistaking signs of DVT for side effects of their cancer treatment. Furthermore, different people experience different symptoms. Some people experience noticeable pain and discomfort while some don't feel a thing.

Recognising and reacting to possible symptoms fast is the best way to get ahead of DVT. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the symptoms below:



Note: affected areas typically include the calf, thigh and pelvis / groin although it is possible to develop DVT in other parts of the body. Contact your doctor to discuss your symptoms. 

What are the signs and symptoms of PE?

DVT can become far more serious, even life threatening, if part of the clot breaks off and travels to the lungs. This is called pulmonary embolism (PE). You should contact your local emergency room immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms: 



NOTE: Pulmonary embolism is not the same as a heart attack; although the symptoms may sound similar, the two conditions are completely separate. 

 

References

  1. Mandala M, Falanga A, Roila F. “Management of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in cancer patients: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines, Annals of Oncology 2011, 22 (Supplement 6): vi85-vi92

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