Disease Information & Support


The Word:


Generally, essential thrombocythemia (ET) doesn't shorten life expectancy. However, medical treatment is important to prevent or treat complications.

It's important that your doctor is experienced in treating myeloproliferative neoplams (MPNs) or works in consultation with a hematologist oncologist who has experience treating MPN patients.

Finding the Best Treatment Approach

The treatment your doctor recommends is based on your risk of clotting or bleeding complications. The complication risk may be low for some patients with no signs of the disease other than an increased platelet count. Patients with low risk, especially young people with no other cardiovascular risk factors, may need only periodic medical checkups. On the other hand, in patients with previous bleeding or clotting episodes, or in patients who are at high risk for such complications, doctors may use medications to reduce high platelets.

Risks for clotting complications (thrombosis) include:

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

The goals of ET treatment are to:

  • reduce high platelet counts
  • 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, July 05, 2012

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