Blood Clots Common in People With Newly Diagnosed Lung Cancer

Posted by Samantha Powell on March 31st, 2014 |

Date: 3/31/14
Outlet Full Name:
Author: Lynne Eldridge

Arriving in perfect time for the end of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Awareness Month, a new study reinforces the importance of recognizing, and preventing when possible, blood clots.

Blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis (DVTs)) which can break off and travel to the lungs (pulmonary emboli) have been an important complication of cancer. And when TV journalist David Bloom died from a pulmonary embolus (PE) while reporting from Iraq, the public began to realize that DVT’s and PE’s can occur with devastating effects even in people who are healthy and fit.

Why is this extra important for people with cancer?

Overall, the risk of blood clots in cancer patients is elevated for many reasons and 3 to 15% of people with lung cancer develop blood clots during their treatment. But a few other statistics are worthy standing up and taking notice:

Blood clots aren’t reserved for those who have been struggling with cancer for a lengthy period of time. Researchers looked at 673 people with newly diagnosed lung cancer within the first week after admission.

6.2% were found to have a DVT alone. 4.9% were found to have a PE alone. And 2.1% had both.

The chances someone with newly diagnosed lung cancer would have a DVT were higher if:

They had metastatic cancer.
They had an elevated white blood cell count.
They had lung adenocarcinoma.
They had anemia.
If they had an elevated CEA.

Another disturbing finding from an earlier study was that 78% of people who developed blood clots during chemotherapy (for a variety of cancers) developed these while they were away from the hospital or clinic – hence, making it important for people with cancer to recognize the signs.

What are some of the symptoms?

Pain in the calf. Redness and swelling in one leg. Sudden shortness of breath. Chest pain.

What can you do to lower risk?

Blood clots are more common in people who are sedentary. When you are in the hospital, get up and move around when possible. If you are traveling by plane or car, stop if driving and get up frequently and move around if flying.

Many cancer treatments increase risk. But as noted above, blood clots can occur even early on after a diagnosis. Don’t put off learning about blood clots, possible symptoms, and methods of prevention.

What are some other things that you should know about cancer and blood clots? Check out this article:

Cancer and Blood Clots: Tips for Preventing Blood Clots During Cancer Treatment

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