What Is the Connection between Blood Clots and Cancer?

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  • Written By: Kristeen Moore
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2018
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Blood clots and cancer are often related to each other. A patient with blood clots is generally more likely to develop cancer at some point than a patient without blood clots. Also, a patient who already has cancer has an increased risk of developing blood clots. It is imperative that a person has a healthy blood flow to prevent diseases such as cancer. A healthy system may also help a cancer patient improve chances of survival.

Thrombosis is the medical term for blood clots. These clots occur when there is poor circulation in the body. Blood clotting is attributed to certain diseases, such as cancer, as well as an unhealthy lifestyle. Clots that occur during cancer might make the disease more difficult to treat.

Blood clots might be more prevalent in cancer patients. This is attributed to decreased circulation throughout the body. In some patients, clots are the first symptoms of cancer development. The fact that some patients are bed-ridden during treatment can exacerbate the risk of thrombosis.


Cancer patients with thrombosis may also be at an increased chance of malignant cells spreading. The treatment of cancer cells depends partly on optimal blood circulation. Blood clots can cause malignant cells to become trapped in a certain location, allowing cancer cells to grow in that particular area of the body and become stuck in the capillaries. Aside from cancer complications, blood clots generally increase a patient’s risk for other diseases, such as heart attack and stroke.

There are both over-the-counter and prescription strength medications for blood clots and cancer, the most common being aspirin. Some medications can have blood thinning effects, which can be an unwelcome effect if a patient is undergoing certain cancer treatments. A patient should always check with his doctor before self treating or preventing blood clots.

Lifestyle changes can help to prevent blood clots and cancer. Regular exercise naturally helps to improve blood circulation, decreasing the chances of thrombosis. Existing cancer patients should check with a physician before starting an exercise program to avoid any complications. A healthy diet will also provide the body with nutrients that a person needs to help combat or even prevent blood clots and cancer.

A family history of blood clots and cancer can be discussed with a doctor to help prevent future issues. Thrombosis and cancer complications in such patients might be prevented with regular testing early in life. Examples of tests include ultrasounds, blood samples, and computerized tomography (CT) scans to monitor the development of clots.



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