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Annie Young: People with cancer are dying unnecessarily from thrombosis

Collaborative action is needed to help cancer patients at high risk of thrombosis, says nursing professor Annie Young.
Cancer_arterial_thrombosis,_drawing_-SPL.jpg

Collaborative action is needed to help cancer patients at high risk of thrombosis, says nursing professor Annie Young

Cancer is a leading cause of death in the EU. The European Commission has set goals for reducing cancer-related deaths by 15% in the next four years, and the World Health Assemblys global target is a 25% reduction in premature non-communicable mortality by 2025.

A startling but lesser-known fact is that cancer-associated thrombosis (CAT) is a major cause of cancer-related deaths, second only to the cancer itself. Globally, one in four people die from causes related to thrombosis, and unless CAT is addressed head-on, these targets will be missed.

So, how do we meet these objectives? One of the most practical ways of improving outcomes for those affected by CAT is

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Collaborative action is needed to help cancer patients at high risk of thrombosis, says nursing professor Annie Young


Cancer-associated thrombosis (CAT) is a major cause
of cancer-related deaths. Picture: Science Photo Library

Cancer is a leading cause of death in the EU. The European Commission has set goals for reducing cancer-related deaths by 15% in the next four years, and the World Health Assembly’s global target is a 25% reduction in premature non-communicable mortality by 2025. 

A startling but lesser-known fact is that cancer-associated thrombosis (CAT) is a major cause of cancer-related deaths, second only to the cancer itself. Globally, one in four people die from causes related to thrombosis, and unless CAT is addressed head-on, these targets will be missed.

So, how do we meet these objectives? One of the most practical ways of improving outcomes for those affected by CAT is to develop strong patient care pathways. Patients with CAT tell us that, because they fall somewhere between oncology and thrombosis (haematology) departments, they struggle to obtain clear information. Multiprofessional healthcare workers in the oncology and thrombosis worlds need to communicate regularly and coordinate care. This may be as simple as getting cancer professionals to deliver information on thrombosis during a patient’s first consultation, and training cancer nurses to look for symptoms and give information on warning signs and exercise.

Improving coordination 

At Warwick Medical School we are working to improve coordination and patient information at our partner hospital, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW). The earlier cancer-associated venous thromboembolism, the main form of CAT, is diagnosed, the earlier treatment can begin.

We’re also working to prevent and treat thrombosis more efficiently in cancer patients through clinical trials, and our team is lobbying MPs and MEPs to raise awareness of CAT.

Let’s make it second nature to assess outpatients with cancer for thrombosis and act on our findings. We need to develop a system inwhich we can pick up patients with warning signs more quickly and treat them prophylactically to reduce the incidence of this killer condition.


About the author 

 

 

 

Annie Young is professor of nursing at Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick

 

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