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Oncologists Overlook Clot Risk

Cancer patients who receive treatment have a greater risk of developing blood clots, but a new study shows many doctors are not taking the necessary steps to prevent the clots from forming.//

Researchers in England, surveyed more than 100 oncologists to determine if the doctors were aware of the risk of blood clots and to evaluate preventative measures used by the physicians. About 40 percent of the doctors who were surveyed treated their patients with either chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and less than 10 percent said they used hormone therapy on their patients.

Results of the study show more than 90 of the 160 doctors surveyed thought radiotherapy posed little or no increased risk for blood clots. More than 80 doctors thought the same for chemotherapy, and more than 70 agreed hormone therapy did not increase the risk.

Of the doctors surveyed, 84 did not routinely recommend blood thinners, such as aspirin or warfarin, as a preventative measure for patients treated with chemotherapy. Seventy-nine doctors did not recommend the medication for hormone therapy patients, and 86 did not advise radiotherapy patients to use the blood thinners. Nearly 40 percent of the oncologists said less than 1 percent of their patients were currently using prophylactic measures for preventing blood clots.

Researchers say health care professionals need to be better educated about the potential increased risk of blood clots in cancer patients.

Thus researchers conclude, “National guidelines on prophylaxis for venous thromboembolism during cancer treatment are needed.”


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