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Cancer Outpatients at Greater Risk for Blood Clots

December 13, 2011
By

MONDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) —
Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy most often develop blood clots
after they are discharged from the hospital, according to a large new
study.

Efforts to prevent this common and potentially life-threatening
complication of cancer treatment should focus on outpatients — not those
still in the hospital, the researchers said.

A blood clot, also called a venous thromboembolism (VTE), is a mass of
red blood cells, clotting proteins and platelets that block the flow of
blood. Once cancer patients develop one clot, they’re much more likely to
develop others, according to a news release from the University of
Rochester Medical Center.

“One in five patients develops blood clots after a cancer diagnosis and
we believe that number is rising,” study author Dr. Alok Khorana, an
associate professor in the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at URMC, said in
the release.

After examining nearly 18,000 cancer patients over four years, the
researchers found that of the 5.6 percent who developed blood clots, 78
percent were receiving treatment as outpatients.

The retrospective, observational study is slated for presentation
Monday at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting in San Diego.
Data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a
peer-reviewed journal.

“The Surgeon General recently issued a Call to Action to reduce VTE. At
this point public health efforts have focused on inpatient prophylaxis.
These new data suggest that to reduce the burden of VTE in cancer
patients, prevention efforts will have to shift to the outpatient arena as
well,” Khorana said.

Doing so would reduce health care costs, the researchers suggested.

Cancer patients need more information on blood clots, they also
said.

“Ongoing public health issues that we must address are how to educate
patients on the importance of blood clot prevention, and improving
compliance to preventive treatment,” Khorana said. “Patients should
immediately report to their physicians any unusual symptoms such as
swelling or redness in limbs, or shortness of breath, even if they are
otherwise feeling well.”

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute provides more information on
treatment of cancer
.

Article source: http://news.yahoo.com/cancer-outpatients-greater-risk-blood-clots-000809575.html

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