To stop bleeding when an injury occurs, platelets along with a complex system of proteins called the "coagulation cascade," are activated to start the formation of blood clots when an injury occurs.
Cancer can cause the coagulation cascade to be active even when there is no injury present. These clots most commonly form in the large veins of the arms or legs (deep vein thrombosis) and can break off and travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism), heart (myocardial infarction), or brain (thrombotic stroke).
Medications can decrease the risk of a harmful clot from forming. When an unwanted blood clot does form, medications need to be given to stop the clot from getting bigger while your body breaks down the existing clot. These medications either slow down the activity of proteins in the coagulation cascade or decrease the amount of clotting factor proteins in the blood.
NOTE: Treatment Options listed below are not all-inclusive. Other treatments may be available. ChemoExperts provides drug information and does not recommend any one treatment over another. Only your Doctor can choose which therapy is appropriate for you.
1. Timp JF, Braekkan SK, Versteeg HH, Cannegieter SC. Epidemiology of cancer-associated venous thrombosis. Blood. 2013;122:1712–1723.
2. Kearon C, Aki EA. Duration of anticoagulant therapy for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Blood. 2014;123:1794-1801.
3. van Es N, Coppens M, Schulman S, et al. Direct oral anticoagulants compared with vitamin K antagonists for acute venous thromboembolism: evidence from phase 3 trials. Blood. 2014;124:1968-1975.
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Created: December 15, 2015 Updated: July 10, 2017