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Risk and prevention of venous thromboembolism in adults with cancer

Author
Kenneth A Bauer, MD
Section Editor
Lawrence LK Leung, MD
Deputy Editor
Jennifer S Tirnauer, MD

INTRODUCTION

Individuals with cancer are at risk for thrombotic complications due to a hypercoagulable state. The spectrum of hemostatic abnormalities ranges from abnormal coagulation tests in the absence of clinical manifestations, to massive or fatal thromboembolism. Thrombosis may precede the diagnosis of malignancy by months or years, or it may only occur during treatment or hospitalization. Despite the relatively high incidence of thromboembolism, most patients with cancer never experience a thromboembolic event. Individuals with cancer may also have a higher risk of bleeding with anticoagulation, making decisions about the use of prophylactic anticoagulants more challenging.

Here we discuss the risks of venous thromboembolism (VTE), which typically presents as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and/or pulmonary embolism (PE), in adults with cancer, as well as the primary prevention of VTE in these individuals. The following are discussed in detail separately:

Treatment and secondary prevention of VTE in adults with cancer – (See "Treatment of venous thromboembolism in patients with malignancy" and "Catheter-related upper extremity venous thrombosis" and "Drug-induced thrombosis in patients with malignancy".)

Prevention and treatment of thromboembolism in children with cancer – (See "Thromboembolism in children with cancer".)

Evaluation for occult malignancy in patients with VTE – (See "Evaluating patients with established venous thromboembolism for acquired and inherited risk factors", section on 'Evaluation for occult malignancy'.)

                   

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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Wed May 25 00:00:00 GMT 2016.
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