Individuals with cancer, especially those undergoing treatment, are at risk for blood clots. Someone with a clotting disorder may get blood clots in the veins or arteries if the blood forms a clot inappropriately.
Normal blood clotting (coagulation) is a complex process in which specialised blood cells (platelets) and different proteins in the blood (clotting or coagulation factors) clump together to heal broken blood vessels and control bleeding. There is a delicate balance of coagulation factors that promote bleeding and those that promote clotting.
Blood clotting disorders occur when some clotting factors are missing or damaged and form clots inside arteries or veins. These clots can block normal blood-flow and can break off and travel to other parts of the body, causing life-threatening problems.
When a blood clot occurs in a vein it is called a Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT). If the blood clot occurs in a vein in the lungs, or travels into the lungs, it is called a Pulmonary Embolus (PE). A blood clot can also occur in an artery, which is less common but also very serious.
Individuals with cancer have a higher risk of blood clots and clotting disorders. This increased risk may be due to the cancer or treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery, steroids, or long-term use of a catheter. Long periods of inactivity, such as a long plane or car ride can also increase the risk of a blood clot.
A blood clot is life-threatening and needs immediate treatment!!
Read more about the Effects, Signs and Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment and more regarding Clotting Disorders on our static page, Clotting Problems in Childhood Cancer