Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Blood Clots and Cancer

Categories: News

By Elizabeth Varga, MS; Chair – Education Committee, NBCA

  • Each year in the US, approximately 1 in 200 cancer patients develop a VTE.

  •  About 10-15% of all patients with VTE have cancer.

  • Blood clots are the second leading cause of death in cancer patients (infection is the leading cause).

  •  Cancer patients who develop a blood clot have a higher chance of dying. Over 94% of people admitted to the hospital with cancer and VTE will die within 6 months, compared to 40% of people admitted to the hospital with cancer alone.

  • Approximately 1 in 7 hospitalized cancer patients who die, die from pulmonary embolism.

  • 40%-80% of cancer patients who have surgery will develop a DVT and 4-10% will develop PE without
    preventive treatment.

  •  Once a cancer patient develops a first episode of VTE, he or she has 3 times the risk of developing a second clot as compared to non-cancer patients.

  •  All cancer patients should be aware of the signs and symptoms of DVT and PE.

  •  All cancer patients should discuss their risk of VTE and whether they would benefit from preventive treatment with their doctors.

  •  Blood clots in cancer patients can often be prevented with appropriate preventive treatment.

Lee AY and Levine MN. Circulation. 2003; 107:I-17-I-21. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism, 2008. Elting L. Arch Intern Med 204; 164:1653-1661.Pradoni P, et al. Ann Intern Med. 1996; 125:1-7.

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