Here’s a little-known fact: People with blood clots are much more likely to develop cancer than the general population. It usually surfaces a year or two after the blood clot develops.
The risk is especially high if you have unexplained blood clots. Meaning, they can’t be linked to family history, pregnancy, or being immobile for a long period of time. And if your doctor has you on blood thinners, this means he thinks you’re at risk for clots. Maybe he doesn’t know, but it also means you may be precancerous, too.
But blood clots don’t just make you more susceptible to developing cancer. They’re also a huge risk if you already have cancer. Blood clots are the second leading cause of death in cancer patients.
That’s why I want to tell you how to avoid them, manage them, and treat them naturally.
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How blood clots jack up your cancer risk
- Patients who get hospitalized for a blood clot are four times more likely to be diagnosed with cancer within a year.
- Ten percent of patients with unexplained clots are diagnosed with cancer within two years. Their cancer risk is twice as high as that of patients with explainable clots.
- Cancers of the brain, pancreas, liver, and ovary are somewhat more likely to occur following a blood clot than other types of cancer.
- If cancer is not diagnosed within six months to a year of a blood clot episode, your risk level returns to normal.
One explanation for the connection is that early-stage cancers might cause clotting before other cancer symptoms appear. A blood clot that can’t be explained in any other way could be an early sign of cancer.
But — hold on — we don’t know this for sure yet.
You see, another possible explanation is that patients who get hospitalized for blood clots undergo a battery of tests, and those tests may happen to detect early cancer. If this turns out to be true, cancer and blood clots aren’t directly related.
And a final possible explanation is that some cancers have the same risk factors as blood clots. I wish this was simple and black and white, but it’s not. Even so, blood clots should be viewed as a warning sign of cancer.
What are blood clots, anyway?
A blood clot is basically a soft, lumpy mass of thickened blood. Clotting is crucial for a healthy body, since that’s how your body stops bleeding after an injury.
But a blood clot is harmful when it blocks an artery or vein and stops blood flow (in which case it’s called a thrombus). A thrombus in the brain causes a stroke. In the heart, it causes a heart attack. In the lung, it’s a pulmonary embolism. If a thrombus is in your leg, you have deep vein thrombosis.
Symptoms depend on where the thrombus is:
- If it’s in your brain — you might feel a numbness or weakness in your face, arm, leg, or on one side of the body. To paraphrase Hamlet: Get thee to a hospital.
- In your leg— you might see redness or swelling, or experience pain that worsens as you walk. See a doctor — soon.
- In your heart — you might have pain or pressure in your chest, pain in one or both arms, feel out of breath, light-headed or nauseous, or break out in a cold sweat. Again, you need medical care — fast.
If you have a blood clot,
should the doctor look for cancer?
Let’s say you have an unexplained blood clot. How far should your doctor go in trying to find and diagnose cancer? A lot of doctors might push for every diagnostic test available, from blood tests for biochemical markers to CT scans to endoscopy (that’s where they stick a camera in a tube to examine your stomach or bowels).
But routine extensive screening isn’t appropriate. For starters, invasive tests — surgery and biopsies — have risks. There’s also the psychological burden of going through a battery of tests and waiting for results.
Of course, extensive testing costs a lot. But here’s an even bigger problem: There aren’t reliable screening tests for the cancers most commonly associated with blood clots (brain, liver, pancreas, and ovary). These cancers are hard to find.
The best option is for a medical professional to do a thorough clinical evaluation — medical history, physical exam, basic lab tests, etc. This approach highlights abnormalities in most patients with unexplained clots. That’s the conventional testing route.
A wake-up call to get your act together
As you might figure, I prefer alternatives. Our Special Report by Dr. Morton Walker, Natural Cancer Remedies that Work, devotes a chapter to alternative cancer screening tests. I’d draw your attention to one in particular, the AMAS blood test. According to Dr. Walker, this test can tell you if you have cancer as much as a year-and-a-half before conventional tests are able to do so.
My good friend Bill Henderson advocates another alternative test that you have to get by mailing a urine sample to a lab in the Philippines. It’s somewhat more involved, but it gives the patient more information than does the AMAS test. Bill is very enthusiastic about it. You can learn the details from his Special Report How to Cure Almost Any Cancer at Home for $5.15 a Day.
The shortcoming of both these tests is that they don’t tell you where you have cancer or what type of cancer you have. They just indicate you have cancer somewhere. But they can be an early indication you need to make the lifestyle changes that will get you healthy, BEFORE the cancer becomes serious enough to propel you into the conventional cut-burn-and-poison medical system.
Frankly, I’m trying to make these changes now rather than wait till a blood clot or a test tells me I’m in trouble. But some people need to be told the sky is falling before they do something.
If you’re found to be cancer-free (phew!), schedule another physical exam or get another test every six months for the two years following the appearance of your clot. This seems to be the most logical way to detect most cancers.
How cancer jacks up your blood clot risk
Now, let’s look at the flip side — the fact that you’re at greater risk for blood clots if you already have cancer. Here are the stats:
- About 20 percent of patients who develop blood clots are already cancer patients, though a lot of risk factors feed that number (age, race, obesity level, certain medical conditions, etc.).
- Some cancer-specific risk factors, like stage and site of cancer, type of chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and whether surgery is performed, raise blood clot risk.
- A patient already diagnosed with cancer is four times more likely to develop a blood clot.
- Some cancers (mentioned above) carry a higher risk factor.
- Cancers with a low risk of blood clots include breast and skin cancers.
Conventional cancer treatments are part of the reason cancer often leads to blood clots. Chemotherapy, for instance, activates your clotting system. Chemotherapy treatment can raise your risk of blood clots up to 6.5 times above what’s seen in the general population.
Other mainstream cancer treatments that bump up blood-clot risk are high-dose steroids, hormone therapy, and a new class of anti-cancer drugs known as anti-angiogenic agents. This last group prevents the growth of new blood vessels in cancers but also significantly heightens risk for blood clots.
Surgery also puts cancer patients at a higher risk for blood clots, because in most cases you lose your ability to move, at least in part, until you fully recover.
What’s more, a number of cancer patients who get central catheters placed for long-term chemo administration will develop catheter-related blood clots — which also delays administration of the chemotherapy and other medicines.
The mainstream approach for cancer patients undergoing heavy treatments like this is to be put on blood-thinners like warfarin and heparin for three to six months.
Natural ways to prevent blood clots
Blood clots are life-threatening, so you should always deal with them promptly. If you suspect you have one, go see your doctor immediately.
But if you’re at elevated risk, or if you’ve already been diagnosed and you want to avoid future clots, here’s what you can do:
- Move around — every day. If you sit a lot, get up and move every half hour. If you’ve undergone surgery and you’re confined to bed (or have to spend a lot more time there), ask about gentle exercises you can do in bed.
- Don’t smoke.
- Take ginkgo biloba twice a day. It has terpenoids and flavonoid glysosides, both of which increase blood flow.
- Eat lots of ginger. Extracts from ginger inhibit clotting.
- Take proteolytic digestive enzymes. They’re blood thinners.
- Add garlic, a known blood thinner, to your supplement regimen. Fish oil is also a blood thinner.
- Drink water. Water keeps your blood fluid. Blood is about 80-85 percent water.
- Add more beans and legumes to your diet, because they’re believed to help enhance blood circulation.
- Avoid salty foods, fried food, processed food, dairy products, and hydrogenated vegetable oils.
PLEASE NOTE: If your doctors put you on pharmaceutical blood thinners like warfarin, the natural blood thinners such as enzymes or ginkgo may be too much of a good thing. Probably something should be cut back. My vote would be to cut back on the drugs, because the natural remedies are highly effective for this medical condition.
But you need to do this under the monitoring of a doctor — and that’s another reason to seek care from doctors who are receptive to alternatives, not hostile to them.
As with most medical issues, taking care of yourself by eating well and exercising is your best line of attack. Take this advice and you’ll reduce your risk for both blood clots and cancer.
Lee Euler Publisher