European Patients Require More Education on CAT

Article

Based on responses, patient knowledge of cancer-associated thrombosis is subpar and requires clinicians to better provide patients with the proper information regarding cancer-associated thrombosis warning signs, symptoms, and preventions.

The European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) released a survey to both cancer patients and survivors to record the awareness of cancer-associated thrombosis (CAT) among those who have battled or are currently battling the disease. Investigators found suboptimal awareness of and awareness of preventing CAT across the respondents.

A total of 1365 responses were collected from cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers from 6 countries in western Europe. Survey results indicated that 72% (n = 957) of the participants were not aware of the higher risk of developing thrombosis in cancer patients. One of the survey questions asked respondents to rank their understanding of CAT on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 indicating the highest understanding. The median score was 4.1 out of 10, with 55% of responders giving a score of 4 or less and 21% giving a score of 7 or higher. This median score was similarly reflected across each nation. Participants were also asked about risk factors associated with venous thromboembolism (VTE), and less than half of them were aware of these risk factors associated with thrombosis, aside from one. Inactivity was the one risk factor noted by more than half of survey respondents.

Most participants were from Spain (332) or the United Kingdom (324), and others were from Germany (n = 175), Greece (n = 267), Italy (246), and France (n = 21). Of the entire population, 76% (n = 966) were either cancer survivors or cancer patients. Approximately 2/3 of patients lived with cancer for more than a year. Most participants were female (75%), and more than 90% were 45 years or older. A significant percentage (24%; n = 299) had experienced thrombosis associated with their cancer.

Investigators distributed this survey primarily online through social media, email newsletters, and website posts. Most respondents (68%; n = 926) found out about this survey online.

When asked about when or where they first learned about CAT, 35% of participants responded that they became aware at (16%) or right before (19%) their cancer diagnosis (FIGURE 1). The largest proportionate single answer for undergoing evaluation was the finding of a blood clot (26%).

Survey responders were also asked about CAT prevention and its symptoms. When specifically asked about modes of prevention, 87% indicated that taking a walk can reduce risk. Other responses varied widely (FIGURE 2).

Most respondents were generally aware of the signs and symptoms of CAT, however. Most (73%) knew that swelling in the foot, ankle, or leg could be a sign of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and 71% were aware that shortness of breath could be a sign of pulmonary embolism (PE). Other symptoms were less known with just over half (57%) knowing that pain, cramping, and tenderness could be a sign of DVT, and 33% knew that irregular heartbeat could be a sign of PE (FIGURE 3). Investigators observed these survey results varied widely across nations.

Based on responses, patient knowledge of CAT is subpar and requires clinicians to better provide patients with the proper information regarding CAT warning signs, symptoms, and preventions. Improving this facet of the patient experience cand lead to faster diagnosis and treatment.

REFERENCE

Falanga A, Girvalaki C, Monreal M, Easaw JC, Young A. How well do european patients understand cancer-associated thrombosis? A patient survey. Cancer Treat Res Commun. 2022;31:100557. doi:10.1016/j.ctarc.2022.100557

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