Higher end of normal blood platelet count could indicate high risk of cancer

Exeter (England): Blood platelet counts on the increased end of normal counsel a high risk of cancer in males aged 60 or over, and must be investigated, based on new University of Exeter analysis. 

Platelets carry out a vital perform in blood, together with serving to blood to clot, which helps us heal wounds. However, Exeter researchers have beforehand discovered that cancer risk is considerably raised by having an abnormally high blood platelet count (greater than 400 x 109/l,) a situation referred to as thrombocytosis. 

Now, they’ve discovered that circumstances of cancer vastly elevated in older males with a platelet count on the high end of the normal vary (326 to 400 x 109/l), indicating that these sufferers must be investigated for cancer.

In a examine funded by NIHR and printed within the British Journal of General Practice, researchers reviewed the information of almost 300,000 sufferers who had platelet counts on the upper end-user information from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink and the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service. 

They discovered that the quantity of these sufferers recognized with cancer a yr later was considerably increased if the sufferers had even barely raised platelet ranges. Of 68,181 male sufferers with ranges of blood platelet on the upper end of normal, 1,869 circumstances of cancer had been recognized inside one yr. 

Of these, 720 had been a sophisticated stage. A better platelet count was most regularly linked to lung and colorectal cancers – each aggressive kinds of cancer.

Dr Sarah Bailey, Senior Research Fellow on the University of Exeter Medical School who led the analysis, stated: “After finding that having a blood platelet count above normal range put people at high risk of cancer, we investigated the risk at the high end of normal. We found that men aged over 60 whose platelet count is on the higher end of a normal are more likely to have underlying cancer. Updating guidance for GPs to investigate higher platelet counts could save lives. This is particularly important in a post-COVID era; clues to help GPs identify cancer earlier are crucial to targeting the backlog in cancer investigation and diagnosis.”

Professor Willie Hamilton, of the University of Exeter Medical School, stated: “The UK lags well behind other developed countries on early cancer diagnosis. Our findings on platelet count and a cancer diagnosis can help to combat that lag. It is now crucial that we roll out cancer investigation of thrombocytosis. It could save hundreds of lives.” 

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