Health Questions and Answers

Question: What are the causes of anemia in patients with cancer?

Answer:

Anemia in cancer patients is often multifactorial. Anemia may result from blood loss due to bleeding from tumors or from gastritis due to the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs). It may also be caused by hemolysis (secondary to antibodies associated with the tumor), disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), sepsis, or a paraneoplastic syndrome. Anemia is frequently caused by bone marrow suppression by chemotherapy or by marrow involvement by the tumor.

Reference: Tannock IF, Hill RP (eds): The Basic Science of Oncology, 3rd ed. New York, McGraw-Hill, 1998

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