Why it matters for patients

Cancer Associated Thrombosis (CAT) is one of the leading causes of cancer and thrombosis and is three times more fatal for cancer patients compared to people without cancer. CAT can manifest as either deep vein thrombosis, which is a clot that forms deep within a vein (usually in the leg), or pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot that has travelled to the lung. Although potentially fatal, CAT is both preventable and treatable, provided it is caught in time. ECPC carried out a Patient Survey in 2018, which revealed very low awareness about CAT among cancer patients in Europe. The vast majority of respondents said that, before taking part in the survey, they were unaware that people with cancer have a higher than normal risk of developing thrombosis.

“Treatment to prevent blood clots should be routine in any hospitalized patient, and usually consists of injections of heparin. Compression stockings or pneumatic devices are also used to help prevent blood clots”

How to make the most of this tool

To get the best out of this tool, you should read the patient brochure in a language you are comfortable with and familiarise yourself with the risks and symptoms of the condition. If you are part of a cancer patient organisation or know someone with cancer, we encourage you to share this information with them, so that they can ensure they are protected. More needs to be done by clinicians and patient organisations, at every stage of the cancer journey, to ensure that the risks of cancer associated thrombosis are better known. Health professionals should provide more information for patients at the time of the cancer diagnosis, and also at follow-up appointments.

If you are a patient organisation, download the ECPC Patient Survey Report, which provides an overview of awareness situations and concrete recommendations for action at EU and Member State levels, and which you can use in your policy and advocacy. If you are a cancer patient yourself, we encourage you to discuss this material with your healthcare provider and especially pose the three questions we suggest to your doctor: (1) What is my risk of CAT? (2) What should I look out for? (3) If I’m concerned I have CAT, what should I do? A survey carried out in 2018 showed that the vast majority of cancer patients were unaware that people with cancer have a higher risk of developing thrombosis.