Cancer Patients at Risk for Serious Blood Clots:
FRIDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Blood clots affect as many
as one in five U.S. cancer patients and sharply increase the cost
of their care, a new study has found.
Researchers analyzed data from 30,552 cancer patients in the
United States and found a large number developed a potentially
deadly blood clot called a venous thromboembolism (VTE) within a
year of undergoing chemotherapy for certain types of cancers.
One year after treatment, VTE occurred in 21.5 percent of
pancreatic cancer patients, 16.7 percent of stomach cancer
patients, 14.8 percent of lung cancer patients, 11.9 percent of
colorectal cancer patients, 11.4 percent of ovarian cancer patients
and 9.9 percent of bladder cancer patients, the investigators
It's not fully understood why VTEs can develop during cancer
treatment, but contributing factors include chemotherapy side
effects, blood-clotting agents released by tumors, and pre-existing
health issues such as obesity and anemia, according to researchers
led by Dr. Gary H. Lyman, a professor of medicine at Duke Cancer
The average cost of care for a cancer patient who develops a VTE
and requires medication and hospitalization is $110,362, compared
with $77,984 for a patient who does not have a VTE.
"Direct medical costs of health care are significantly greater among cancer patients experiencing a VTE and still do not include caregiver expenses, out-of-pocket costs and the intangible costs of pain and suffering," Lyman said in a Duke news release.
The ability to identify patients with the highest risk of
developing blood clots could improve preventive use of
anti-clotting medicine or blood thinners, Lyman suggested.
The study, which is slated for presentation Monday at the
European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress in Stockholm, was
supported by the pharmaceutical company Sanofi.
Experts note that study findings presented at medical meetings
should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed
The American Society of Clinical Oncology has more about
cancer patients and blood clots.
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