IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSES
Overall, the researchers found that cancer was diagnosed in 1 in 20 patients within a year after VTE diagnosis. Approximately two-thirds of these cases were detected by screening tests. However, approximately one-third became clinically overt during follow-up. The 12-month period prevalence in patients younger than 40 years was negligible; however, it was almost 10% in patients older than 80 years.
“This will hopefully provide reassurance to patients and clinicians that we don’t need to do more screening or aggressive screening for these patients. Age and gender specific screening are good enough,” said Dr Carrier.
The investigators found that cancer prevalence in this patient population may be half as great as previously reported. They attribute the differences to a number of factors, including the fact that this current analysis excluded retrospective studies.
Dr Carrier said these findings may be particularly relevant to oncology nurses because of the role they play with patients and their families. “It is something that is relevant because nurses see patients at different time points in their journey and they can provide reassurance to patients that they don’t need additional screening,” said Dr Carrier.
1. van Es N, Le Gal G, Otten HM, et al. Screening for occult cancer in patients with unprovoked venous thromboembolism. Ann Intern Med. 2017;167(6):410-417.