Disease Information & Support

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The Word:

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Polycythemia vera (PV) is a chronic disease that generally doesn't shorten life expectancy. PV doesn't usually interfere significantly with everyday activities and work. However, it's important that you get regular medical supervision to prevent or treat complications. Your doctor should be experienced in treating myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) or work in consultation with a hematologist oncologist who has experience treating MPN patients.

Finding the Best Treatment Approach

Treatment decisions are based on the patient's risk for clotting complications (thrombosis). Risks for thrombosis include

  • A history of a clot
  • Advanced age (over 60 years)
  • Cardiovascular risk factors, such as high cholesterol levels, diabetes, smoking, obesity or hypertension- all considered by many doctors as additional risk factors for thrombosis.

The treatment your doctor recommends is based on several factors, including:

  • your symptoms
  • the disease's progression rate
  • your overall health
  • other health conditions you may have, called comorbidities, such as heart disease, kidney disease, lung disease or diabetes

The goals of PV treatment are to:

  • control symptoms
  • reduce the risk of complications

As you develop a treatment plan with your doctor, be sure to discuss:

  • the results you can expect from treatment
  • potential side effects
  • the possibility of participating in a clinical trial, where you'll have access to advanced medical treatment that may be more beneficial to you than standard treatment
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last updated on Thursday, June 28, 2012
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