dvt & cancer?

I was diagnosed with a dvt behind my right knee 4 weeks ago for no apparent reason other than my father had quite a few clots in his legs one went onto his lungs. My father has been dead for 18 years. When I went to see the Doctor at the hospital just over a week ago, I thought I was going to be told how long to stay on warfarin but instead I was given a thorough hands on examination and it was explained to me that when one has a clot out of the blue it can be an early sign of cancer. Apparently, an early sign of cancer is sticky blood. According to NICE there are various tests that they recommend I have done. The first test that I am going to have is a colonoscopy as 10 years ago I was admitted to hospital with a suspected case of pleurisy OR a clot on my lung, thankfully it was not a clot, however, they did find out that I was very anaemic, carried out a colonoscopy (my father had had cancer of the bowel) the nurse carrying out the examination did say that she could see something and my notes apparently said that this had to be followed up which it never was, hence my appointment now for a further colonoscopy. I must say my bowels seem to be in perfect working order and I have no reason to believe that there is anything untoward going on in there but I am concerned that even though it was written in my notes, it was never followed up. I have my appointment for September followed by another appointment with the doctor to discuss what if anything happens next. Has anyone else ever been told about the possible connection to cancer when a dvt happens for no apparent reason?

2 Replies

  • Dear sausageb

    This is understandably a worrying time for you, all the more so because you were not followed up correctly all those years ago. Try and take some comfort from the fact that they are doing everything they should this time round. The fact that your father had blood clots and cancer is one of the reasons that they will do these tests.

    When a DVT occurs in someone who is fit and healthy and has no obvious cause for a DVT, it has been a common practice for doctors to check the patient for factors in the blood that increase the risk of blood clots - a condition called thrombophilia. However, evidence now shows the risk of an undiagnosed cancer causing the DVT is higher than the risk that the DVT was caused by an undiagnosed thrombophilia.

    Studies have shown that in patients over the age of 40, that there is a small risk of an undiagnosed cancer being found in patients with a spontaneous (or "unprovoked") DVT. The cancers which are most likely to cause DVTs are breast cancer, lung cancer, bowel cancer and pancreatic cancer.

    Guidelines issued by NICE (National Institute of Health and Care Excellence) now concentrate on making sure that if a DVT is found in a person with no known reason to have a DVT and no known cancer, they are to have a full medical examination by their doctor. Of course in the majority of patients who have a DVT, it is highly likely results will show no underlying cancer.

  • Thanks for that info, I suppose like you say at least I am now in the system, so will keep them on their toes!

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