The serious blood clot risk that comes with prostate cancer

You would think that getting cancer itself would be bad enough.

But then you add on the chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and all the side effects and just when you think things can’t get any worse, you find out you have a serious blood clot.

In fact, people with cancer are known to have a higher risk of developing blood clots, including a dangerous form called venous thromboembolism or VTE.

These clots develop deep in your veins and are a leading cause of death in people with cancer, resulting in heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism. The more advanced your cancer stage, the higher your risk.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in middle-aged and older men, meaning that men with prostate cancer are at risk of experiencing a VTE.

And based on the results of a study of over 558,000 men, it’s a risk you’ll want to stay ahead of…

A blood clot within 5 years

While some older studies have suggested that the risk of VTE is two to three times higher in men with prostate cancer than among men of similar age without cancer, new treatments have led doctors to believe that the risk might be overhyped.

So, a team of European researchers set out to examine more recent data in light of these improvements in treatment, like anticoagulant drugs some men now take for other conditions that may also decrease the risk of VTE.

The team compared the rate of VTE in over 92,100 men with prostate cancer to 466, 241 men of the same age without prostate cancer.

Overall, they discovered that while 3.2 percent of men in the prostate cancer group experienced a VTE within about five years of their cancer diagnosis, only 2.1 percent of men in the non-cancerous group developed a clot.

This means that for every 1,000 men with prostate cancer, about seven will develop a VTE each year, compared with just four of every 1,000 without prostate cancer.

It also means that after taking into account all other factors that can play into VTE risk, men with prostate cancer have a 50 percent higher risk of ending up with a blood clot within five years of their diagnosis.

The authors concluded: “The magnitude of increased VTE risk among men with prostate cancer seen in our study is lower than that seen for other cancer types as seen in previous studies, and is likely attributable to the high proportion of men with localized disease and at low risk of cancer progression.

“Notwithstanding this, physicians treating men with prostate cancer should be aware of the marked increase in VTE risk in these men, particularly in the first six months following cancer diagnosis, to help ensure timely VTE diagnosis.”

Knowing the signs of a blood clot

So if you or a loved one has had prostate cancer, it’s important to pay attention to the risks and be aware of the signs a blood clot may be developing.

These include:

  • Swelling, such as in the lower leg
  • Change in skin color, caused by a clot in your arm or leg that makes the skin blue or red or pale, bluish, clammy skin due to a pulmonary embolism
  • Sudden, intense pain in your chest or arm due to a blood clot causing a heart attack
  • Trouble breathing, which may be caused by a clot in your lungs or heart

If you’re at higher risk for a blood clot, you may have to try harder to avoid one. And the one thing that matters most to avoid DVT is movement.

The Medical University of Vienna has confirmed that physical activity alone can decrease your risk of thrombosis and the complications that come with it. They even found that if you already suffer from thrombosis, a bit of exercise can turn your blood clot risk around quickly. Exercise during cancer treatment has also been shown to increase energy and decrease pain levels.

Try walking or fast walking daily. Be sure to communicate with your doctor about how exercise makes you feel.

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Men with prostate cancer have higher risk of serious blood clots – EurekAlert!

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

By Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic, with more than 20 years of experience. She has dedicated herself to helping others enjoy life at every age through the use of alternative medicine and natural wellness options. Dr. Schmedthorst enjoys sharing her knowledge with the alternative healthcare community, providing solutions for men and women who are ready to take control of their health the natural way.