It hardly seems fair: You’re already coping with cancer, but now you need to worry about blood clots, too? Unfortunately, having cancer appears to rev up the body’s blood-clotting apparatus, possibly the result of tissue damage caused by increased inflammation.
Meanwhile, some commonly used chemotherapy drugs promote coagulation, too, as does the use of a catheter to deliver the treatment. Malignant tumors in certain parts of the body, including the brain, colon, kidney, liver, lung, ovary, pancreas, and stomach, have the highest risk for triggering deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism. Leukemia and lymphomas also increase the risk for blood clots.
And if your cancer requires surgery, your risk for blood clots increases from both the procedure itself and the need for bed rest as you recover.
This article first appeared in the February 2020 issue of UC Berkeley Health After 50.