Cancer treatments can sometimes cause blood complications, such as blood clots or anemia. In some cases, patients may have a preexisting benign blood disorder that can be made worse by chemotherapy.
At Miami Cancer Institute, our specialists work together to prevent and manage blood complications. Through comprehensive care and careful monitoring, we treat blood disorders before they become life threatening, so that you can maintain your quality of life throughout your cancer care.
Blood disorders include:
- Blood clotting (thrombosis) - Patients undergoing cancer treatment can develop blood clots that form in a deep vein, usually in the leg. This can be dangerous if the clot detaches from the vein and travels to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism.
- Anemia occurs when patients do not have enough red blood cells. It is a common problem for cancer patients.
- Thrombocytopenia is a condition in which you don’t have enough platelets – the cells in the blood that help your blood clot which increases the risk of bleeding.
What causes benign blood disorders?
Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy can cause blood disorders. Other risk factors include:
- Inherited diseases such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia
- Inherited genetic disorders such as Factor V Leiden mutation, prothrombin gene mutation, protein S deficiency, antithrombin III deficiency and protein C deficiency
- Autoimmune disorders
- Low levels of iron, vitamin B12 and folate
What are the symptoms of benign blood disorders?
Many patients with benign blood disorders do not notice symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may include:
- Increased bruising
- Blood in the stool
- Sudden pain and swelling in the leg
- Sharp chest pain, fast pulse
- Bloody cough
- Shortness of breath