About 15 in 100 people with cancer develop blood clots. Surgery and treatments can increase the risk of blood clots. Some treatments trigger the release of chemicals, making the body produce more clotting factors. Risk for blood clots in cancer patients can be up to 53% higher than someone without cancer. A blood clot, typically in the upper arm or in the leg, may be red, swollen, or painful, or there may not be any symptoms.
Cancer patients risk blood clots in veins deep in the legs that dislodge and can block flow to the lungs. In addition to the increased risk, patients with spread of cancer are 28 times higher risk than people without cancer. Lung and gastrointestinal cancers carry the highest degree of risk for blood clots. Inactivity because of weakness or fatigue after treatment can also increase the risk for blood clots.
If you are receiving massage therapy, please let your Oncology Massage Therapist know if you have had a DVT or blood clot within the past 6 months, and where it was located. The therapist will typically avoid the area of the clot and below it, or may provide a very gentle hands-on treatment in that area.