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Cancer blog: How To Predict Blood Clots While Receiving Chemotherapy?

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Dec 7, 2005

How To Predict Blood Clots While Receiving Chemotherapy?

How To Predict Blood Clots While Receiving Chemotherapy?
Image courtesy of University of Rochester Medical Center
A simple platelet count may be all that may take to predict your risk of developing blood clots while receiving chemotherapy as per researchers from University of Rochester Medical Center.

Blood clots including the fatal pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung) are frequent occurrences in patients with cancer. Chances of developing blood clots are higher while receiving chemotherapy because chemotherapy drugs can damage blood vessels, making them susceptible to clotting. About 1 percent of all cancer patients experience blood clots.

Alok Khorana, M.D, the lead author of the study and his colleagues have demonstrated that patients who have platelet counts in excess of 350,000 per cubic millimeter while receiving chemotherapy are at 3 times higher risk of developing blood clots compared to patients who have less than 200,000 platelets per cubic millimeter.

This information may be very important for the oncologists and patients, because it may identify patients who may need low doses of blood thinners as a preventive measure. Delivering blood thinners to all patients undergoing chemotherapy would not be practical, because of the costs and health risks associated with excessive bleeding. The only option may be to identify those at high risk and give them blood thinners to prevent blood clots.

The study also showed blood clots occurred in nearly two percent of patients and incidence was significantly higher for people with lymphoma and stomach, pancreatic and lung cancers.

Patients whose platelet counts exceeded 350,000 per cubic millimeter suffered three-times more blood clots than others with platelet counts of less than 200,000 per cubic millimeter.


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Cancer is a very common disease, approximately one out of every two American men and one out of every three American women will have some type of cancer at some point during the course of their life. Cancer is more common in the elderly and 77 percent of cancers occur in people above age 55 or older. Cancer is also common in children. Cancer incidence is said to have two peaks once during early childhood and then during late years in life. No age period is completely exempted from development of cancers. Some cancers occur predominantly in the elderly, other types occur in children, Cancer occurs in all ethnic races, however the cancer rates and rates of specific cancer types may vary from group to group. Late stages of cancer may be incurable in most cases, but with the advancement of medicine, more and more cancers are becoming curable.

Cancer blog: How To Predict Blood Clots While Receiving Chemotherapy?

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