AntiCoagulation Europe and LEO Pharma today announced the launch of a wide-reaching Cancer-Associated Thrombosis (CAT) awareness, education and support campaign. CAT is a major cause of death in patients with cancer and up to 1 in 5 people with cancer will develop a clot.1
Teresa, who was diagnosed with breast cancer and suffered a clot, following the death of her husband from CAT, welcomed the launch of the materials. "When you are diagnosed with cancer, blood clots are the last thing you are thinking about. The word 'cancer' conjures all sorts of emotions and you are very much focused on the cancer and the treatment you are being offered. I urge people who have been diagnosed with cancer to ask their doctor or nurse about their risk of blood clots."
The campaign is launching with an alert card to be provided to cancer patients following diagnosis to ensure they are aware of the risk of CAT and an educational video 'Cancer, blood clots and you' to educate people on how to avoid clots or what to do if they do suffer one. Cancer charities all over the UK and Ireland are being encouraged to show support for World Thrombosis Day by hosting educational content on CAT on their websites and social media feeds. The materials have also been made available via the AntiCoagulation Europe website at: http://www.anticoagulationeurope.org/cancer-blood-clots
Professor Annie Young, Professor of Nursing at Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick and Honorary Nurse Consultant, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire [UHCW] said: "Obviously there is a great deal to take in when someone is first diagnosed with cancer and a huge amount of information is given at the time. As such, the risk of overwhelming anyone in this situation is all too real - particularly when adding an additional complication to the mix. Nevertheless, it is vitally important that patients are informed of the risk of clots early after diagnosis as more than 50% of cases of CAT occur in the first 3 months after diagnosis."
The launch coincides with the launch of The Three Cs Report (Cancer Chemotherapy and Clots), a report commissioned by the All Party Parliamentary Thrombosis Group to establish the links between cancer, cancer treatment and the increased risks of VTE in England and Wales. The findings of this report paint a worrying picture across the whole of England and Wales for cancer patients as results show that only 41% of Trusts have a dedicated policy or pathway for the management of suspected VTE in patients receiving chemotherapy.
Thromboembolism or blood clots are one of the leading causes of death in patients with cancer, yet the risk of CAT is not commonly discussed with patients.2-4 Preventing and treating CAT is an important focus and is aligned to the current UK forward-looking strategy for cancer put forward in 2014. Currently, low-molecular weight heparin for a course of 6-months is the NICE-recommended treatment for CAT.5
Eve Knight, Chief Executive and Co-founder of Anticoagulation Europe (UK), a charity whose aim is the prevention of thrombosis and the provision of information, education and support said, "Although it is not widely known, cancer patients are at an increased risk of blood clots and getting the right treatment to avoid recurrence is vital. There are approximately 50,000 cancer patients living with Cancer Associated Thrombosis in the UK and greater awareness of this issue is important to reduce deaths which could potentially be avoided."
About Cancer Associated Thrombosis (CAT)
For the general population, the standard treatment for acute venous thromboembolism (VTE) consists of initial therapy with a low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) followed by longer-term treatment (3-6 months) with an oral vitamin K antagonist (VKA). Although this approach can be effective for many patients, cancer patients have a substantial risk of recurrent VTE. Several studies have reported incidences of recurrent VTE as high as 20% in patients with cancer.6,7 However, studies on how to treat and identify those at risk of recurrent VTE are limited.8,9 Moreover, the frequent monitoring and dose adjustments required for VKA treatment have a negative impact on Quality of Life.10
Guidelines in Europe and North America recommend extended (at least 6 months) treatment of symptomatic VTE with LMWH in all cancer patients.5,11-14 The major treatment objective is to reduce recurrent thrombosis, including fatal and non-fatal pulmonary emboli (PE).
For more information, visit www.CAThrombosis.com