SEP 08, 2017 5:54 AM PDT

A Rare Blood Cancer You Should Know About


There are hundreds of different forms of cancer, but one that most people do not hear much about is polycythemia vera, commonly known as PV. It's part of a group of blood cancers called myeloproliferative neoplasms, or MPNs. It's a disease of bone marrow that causes too many cells to be produced. The cells can be irregularly shaped, and an excess of cells makes the blood thick. This results in a high risk of blood clots for patients, as well as fatigue, shortness of breath and widespread pain.

In patients with PV, since their blood is thicker than healthy patients, not only are they at risk for clots, heart attack, and stroke, but the blood doesn't circulate as easily through the body. Getting oxygen to muscles, the brain, and the lungs takes longer, and this is what causes the fatigue, pain and sometimes mental fog that PV patients report. Blood tests can reveal PV, but patients are often reluctant to report vague symptoms to their health care providers, chalking the signs up to age or fitness. Healthcare providers can check a patient's hematocrit levels, which is the volume of red blood cells in the bloodstream. Patients who have PV should consult an oncologist or hematologist for proper treatment.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
JAN 28, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 28, 2020
A Slug Does All it Can to Defend Against Hungry Ants
Slugs are slow, and this makes them easy targets for predators however big or small they might be. Here, we see that a slug has been spotted by a hungry co...
FEB 02, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 02, 2020
These Fish Beach Themselves When it Comes Time to Mate
Most fish probably cringe at the idea of beaching themselves on purpose, especially since they can’t breathe out of water. But this is something that...
FEB 17, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 17, 2020
SpaceX Launches More Starlink Satellites, But Fails First Stage Landing
SpaceX launched yet another one of its renowned Falcon 9 rockets on Monday, this time carrying a plethora of its Starlink satellites that will fortify the...
FEB 17, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 17, 2020
How a Spider Builds its Web
Just about everyone has seen a spider web at some point in their life, but have you ever wondered how a spider builds such a strong and perfect web? The pr...
MAR 16, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAR 16, 2020
These Crabs Decorate Themselves to Avoid Being Eaten
The animal world is chock-full of critters that do seemingly odd or unusual things. The decorator crab is one such example, a crustacean that likes to deck...
MAR 31, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
MAR 31, 2020
Pandemic in Silico: How Maths Modeling Helps Our COVID Fight
The phrase "flattening the curve" is used frequently these days by epidemiologists to describe various measures to keep the daily Covid19 cases a...
Loading Comments...