Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a major therapeutic issue in patients with cancer. Defined as deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), and central venous catheter (CVC)-related thrombosis (CRT), VTE is a frequent and serious complication in patients with cancer.
VTE is an independent prognostic factor of death in patients with cancer and a leading cause of death after metastasis. In the face of these stark facts, physicians underestimate the increasing prevalence of VTE in patients with cancer; 50% of deceased cancer patients are found to have a VTE on autopsy, but only up to 20% of patients with cancer are diagnosed with a VTE. A multifactorial illness, cancer-associated VTE presents an additional challenge for clinicians treating patients with complex needs.
Many factors can influence or increase the risk of VTE in a patient with cancer, including the site and type of cancer, metastasis status, type of cancer treatment (e.g., surgery, chemotherapy), use of central venous catheters, hospitalization, and patient-related factors such as age, comorbidities, prior history of VTE, and various biomarkers. The risk of VTE also varies during the course of a malignancy, from diagnosis through treatment, remission, metastasis, and end-of-life care.
Prevention and treatment of VTE in patients with cancer requires the coordinated efforts of internists, oncologists, haematologists, vascular medicine specialists, and nurses, highlighting the importance of consistent management approaches. A lack of consensus among various national and international clinical practice guidelines have contributed to knowledge and practice gaps among physicians, and inconsistent, inadequate prophylaxis and treatment of VTE in patients with cancer. Thus, education programs are necessary to underscore the gravity of VTE in patients with cancer, the urgency of timely prophylaxis and effective treatment of established VTE, and actionable guidance on new consensus guidelines.
ITAC-CME’s educational platform is intended to provide continuing education (accredited and non-accredited) to various specialist physicians and other healthcare providers involved in the care of patients with cancer, and improve the care of patients with cancer at risk of, or with established, VTE.