MS. HEMELRIJICK and her colleagues identify removal of the prostate gland, prostatectomies, and advancing age as other factors that may increase the risk of prostate cancer patients developing blood clots.
Should these findings change the way that tumors in prostate cancer patients are treated? No, according to Ms. VAN HEMELRIJICK and her colleagues. However, they do urge physicians to change the way they monitor prostate cancer patients by becoming more aware of the risk of “thromboembolic diseases” and checking for certain symptoms.
"Our findings indicate that it is important to consider thromboembolic [blood-clotting] side effects when treating patients with prostate cancer, especially those who require endocrine treatment. Endocrine treatment is currently the cornerstone of therapy for men with locally advanced or metastatic disease. It is thus not possible to change the treatment, but doctors can be more aware of the risk of thromboembolic diseases and check for certain symptoms when following up their patients,” stated MS. VAN HEMELRIJCK.
MS. VAN HEMELRIJICK and the co-authors of the article, Risk Of Thromboembolic Diseases In Men With Prostate Cancer: Results From The Population-Based PCBaSe Sweden,” reviewed data from Sweden’s National Prostate Cancer Register. Sweden’s National Prostate Cancer Register includes approximately 96% of all prostate cancer cases which occur in that country. The prostate cancer patients were divided into three groups: (a) men receiving endocrine or hormone therapy to reduce the levels of male hormones, including testosterone; (b) men receiving surgery and/or radiation; and (c) men who were simply being watched.
A review of the data reflected the fact that prostate cancer patients who underwent hormone therapy had a “2.48% increased risk of developing a blood clot and almost double the chance of a pulmonary embolism--when the clot travels to the lung--compared to men who were not diagnosed with prostate cancer.” Prostate cancer patients who had undergone prostatectomies had a “73% increased risk of blood clots and double the risk of a pulmonary embolism"; while prostate cancer patients who were in the "watch-and-wait” group had a 27% increased risk of blood clots and a 57% increased risk of the blood clot moving to the lung.