If you have cancer your first concern is taking care of the cancer. But a brand new study is reminding us that this is not all you have to do. There is a very common complication of cancer that has nothing to do with cancer per se, but can kill you just the same.
Doctors looked at a group of 155 men and women who had been diagnosed with blood clots in their legs. The ten-dollar word is deep vein thrombosis. Then they looked for the reasons that caused the clots. The number one reason was cancer.
This is a new study, but the evidence is not all that new. Back in 1865 Armand Trousseau was the first doctor who described the association between blood clots and cancer. It's caused by inflammation. The body creates a lot of inflammation when it's fighting cancer. And the inflammation causes the blood to clot easily. That's why patients fighting cancer are four times more likely to get blood clots. Using chemotherapy increases that risk even more. And if you're weak or laid up, that can increase the risk as well.
In fact, the authors point out that the tie between cancer and blood clots is so tight that doctors should suspect an undiagnosed cancer in any patient who gets a blood clot for no other apparent reason. So what can be done to prevent blood clots in cancer patients?
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Many doctors will prescribe anti-coagulants, such as Coumadin or heparin, to prevent the clots. But this recent study points out that not only do patients with cancer have a greater tendency to have clots, they also have a greater tendency to bleed. In fact the authors caution, "The results of this study also call for vigilance in the use of anticoagulants in the elderly, especially in the presence of cancer, because it is an additional risk factor for bleeding." So is there a better plan?
If I believe my patients with cancer are at risk for blood clots, I put them on a combination of nattokinase and fish oil. Specifically I like to use 100 mg of Advanced Natto Formula two times daily and two Complete Daily Oils capsules every day. These nutrients not only act to prevent clotting, but they also decrease the inflammation that is causing the clotting in the first place. And unlike anticoagulants, they don't increase the risk of bleeding.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Kechaou I, Ben Hassine L, et al. Characteristics of deep vein thrombosis in the elderly. Tunis Med. 2015 Jan;93(1):38-42.
Ben Dhaou B, Derbali F, et al. Thrombosis and cancer: retrospective study of 17 cases. Tunis Med. 2012 Jul;90(7):548-51.