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Blood clots and cancer

Woman with hair loss due to cancer

Learn about the link between cancer and deep vein ()

It can come as an unpleasant surprise that cancer patients need to be aware of the risks and warning signs of deep vein (). After all, the two diseases seem worlds apart. So why does the link exist?We do not know all the reasons but can identify three main factors that impact your likelihood for developing a blood clot (): the type of cancer you are diagnosed with, how it is being treated, and your level of physical activity.

Types of cancer

Certain types of cancer are associated with a higher risk of than other cancer types1. The reason for this is unclear.
Types of cancer

Cancer treatment

While your treatment is vital to fight your cancer, it may also increase your risk of blood clots ()2. and surgery can damage the walls of your blood vessels affecting the way they function. This can also lead to a blood clot3.When kills cancer cells, certain substances that can cause clotting are released into the blood stream4. Some types of drugs are less likely to promote clotting than others3. It’s a good idea to ask your doctor about this so that you can be informed of any risks associated with the treatment you have been prescribed.

Interested to know more? Watch our video about the link between blood clots and cancer


Staying active while you fight cancer might feel like a challenge, but even light activity can be very beneficial. Staying active will help you keep blood moving through your veins so that you are less likely to develop a clot in the first place5. Don't worry! You do not need to start an extreme fitness regime to get these benefits. Start by going for a brisk walk or playing with the kids. If you are on bed rest, ask your doctor if it is okay to walk around the house a bit. In any case, it’s good to find small, low-impact ways to keep your legs moving and your blood pumping.
Exercises for better blood circulation

MAT 50137 Last approved April 2022 


  1. Klamroth R. et al "Anticoagulation Practice in Patients with Cancer-Associated : Insights from GeCAT, a German Prospective Registry Study" Oncol Res Treatment 2021. 
  2. Horsted, F., West, J., & Grainge, M. J. "Risk of venous thromboembolism in patients with cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis" PloS Med 2012; 9(7), e1001275 
  3. Blann A.D. et al “Arterial and venous in cancer patients” Card Res Practice Vol 2011, p. 1-12 
  4. Reitsma, Pieter H., Henri H. Versteeg, and Saskia Middeldorp. "Mechanistic view of risk factors for venous thromboembolism." Arteriosclerosis, , and vascular biology 32.3 (2012): 563-568.
  5. Goldhaber S, Fanikos J, “Prevention of Deep Vein and Pulmonary Embolism” Circulation 2004; 110: e445-e447.

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