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Prostate cancer increases blood clot risk

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New research has shown a man’s chances of suffering blood clots in his legs or lungs can more than double if he has prostate cancer.

Blood clots are already a known hazard linked to cancer, but an international team of scientists has found the specific link between clotting and prostate cancer.

Writing in the medical journal The Lancet Oncology, the team said the greatest risk is when men are undergoing hormone therapy for the disease.

The findings were based on tests on more than 76,000 Swedish men who had received curative treatment for the disease, or who were receiving hormone therapy.

During the testing, all of the patients were found to be at higher risk of blood clotting compared with men in the general population.

The two main types of blood clots linked to prostate cancer were deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which chiefly affects the legs, and pulmonary embolism, a potentially lethal lung clot.

Men undergoing hormone therapy were two-and-a-half times more likely than average to suffer a DVT and nearly twice as much at risk of a pulmonary embolism.

The increased risk was especially high for younger men with advanced disease.

For men who had received curative treatment the risk was doubled for pulmonary embolism and 1.73 times higher for DVT.

Men on surveillance were also more likely to suffer both types of clot to a lesser degree.

The international team led by Mieke Van Hemelrijck, from King’s College London, concluded: “Our findings indicate that it is important to consider thromboembolic side effects when treating patients with prostate cancer, especially those who require endocrine (hormonal) treatment.”

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