Last Friday on my internet radio show, Navigating the Cancer Maze I interviewed a Gold Coast Vascular Surgeon because I was interested to get the latest information on how Cancer patients can manage the issue of DVT, embolisms and other blood clotting issues. I have known Dr John for some time and thankfully he had alerted me to the issues of DVT when I had been a patient undergoing repeated and long surgical procedures. His advice was invaluable.
As far as cancer patients are concerned; this is a serious matter and more education is needed – especially interms of safe air travel and also whether a cancer patient or not – for any of us sitting immobile for long periods of time can be a problem. Dr John provides us with great advice – simple preventive measures for avoiding vascular problems.
Cancer patients have a dramatically increased risk of strokes, heart attacks and dangerous blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism) and in the legs (deep vein thrombosis). Did you know that – a cancer patient has 7 times the risk of developing a blood clot.
It is not all doom and gloom – but knowing this fact empowers us to to be proactive, seek good advice and or if we detect or suspect an issue – you may save your life by early intervention.
In this interview with Dr John you will learn about the vascular system and lifestyle issues that can cause a stroke. You will learn about tests and scans you should have to check out veins and arteries, things you can take to offset clotting affects – issues that MUST be discussed with your doctor or oncologist. Basically Clotting risk should be assessed in all patients with cancer. Whenever you are hospitalised, if you are a cancer patient……ask about treatment to prevent DVT or PE both in hospital and at home.
In hospital, you may be given heparin or low molecular weight heparin. Compression stockings…getting you mobile ASAP is a good intervention.However – Patients should be aware of signs and symptoms of DVT/PE – and if you suspect an issue – DONT DELAY GETTING ATTENTION…
I have had many patients who have ignored advice regarding anticlotting medications before during and after air-travel. Patients have returned from cancer treatments overseas not following the advice and have lost their lives to DVT and pulmonary embolisms or stroke. Quite a number of them had significant reduction in their cancer – but died due to their likely preventable vascular events. Fitted pressure stockings will help and in the interview Dr John gives us a powerful tool for clearing the large muscles of the calf when we travel or if we are immobile for a long period – particularly if there is pressure to the back of the calf muscle.
Exercise and Vascular Health: I have known many ‘healthy’ people during my lifetime who have collapsed and died from heart attacks or strokes. These are people who had learned to take care of their diet, they were not overweight and they exercised regularly. Exercise – has become trendy – almost a designer accessory – but how helpful is exercise if you are a cancer patient or if your body is not built for it? Now exercise is good for you – but NOT extreme and not beyond your capacity. It was interesting to hear Dr John talk about how the common cause of Stroke was small pieces of plaque breaking off under exercise duress and lodging in the brain. He also mentions stress in general as a big factor causing constriction of veins and arteries.
The message is for cancer patients – Be gentle with yourself. All things in balance and don’t push yourself hard in terms of exercise. The advice provided by a surgeon with 30 years experience make this episode of Navigating the Cancer maze invaluable and potentially life saving – not only for cancer patients – but for all of us.
More about Cancer and Clotting Issues: Some cancer drugs that may be essential for treating the cancer – also create a higher risk for vascular events.
It is thought that cancer itself may lead to tissue damage creating inflammatory responses that lead to activation of the blood clotting system. Tumours also release chemicals which trigger clotting.
According to an excellent website: www.stoptheclot.com some chemotherapies are associated with a higher risk of blood clots. Thalidomide and Lenalidomide to treat multiple myeloma, Avastin® to treat colon cancer, and certain chemotherapies that may be given in combination with others, including cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan®), chlorambucil (Leukeran®) and nitrogen mustard (Mustargen®). They add: It is not well known why chemotherapy increases risk of DVT/PE, but it is suspected that this could be because they cause damage to blood vessels or reduce the production of proteins that protect us from clots.
Cancers of the brain, ovary, pancreas, colon, stomach, lung and kidney have the highest risk of DVT/PE. Lymphomas, leukaemia, and liver cancer are also more likely to lead to DVT/Pulmonary embolism
The advice provided by a surgeon with 30 years experience make this episode of Navigating the Cancer maze invaluable and potentially life saving – not only for cancer patients – but for all of us. Remember VoiceAmerica internet radio episodes are free to download or you can listen online to the show by selecting the following link:
Next patient Trip to Hallwang Private oncology Clinic in Germany – departs 1 st March 2013: ENQUIRE now
Be fully supported – Travel with us – Patient Manual provided – we streamline your visit so that you can enjoy optimum benefits from treatments
and we look after issues such as DVT, travel stress, dehydration and much more. Visit www.germancancertreatments.com