Polycythemia Vera Treated by Mercy’s Leading Cancer Specialists

Medical Oncology at Mercy - Baltimore

Polycythemia vera is a rare bone marrow disorder. The expert doctors of Medical Oncology and Hematology at Mercy treat a wide range of disorders including polycythemia vera.

About the Condition

Polycythermia vera is a rare bone marrow disorder that produces an abnormal number of blood cells. Typically it produces too many red blood cells and often the amount of white blood cells and platelets show an increase. Polycythermia vera disease often is found more in men than women.

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Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Symptoms of polycythermia vera disease may include the following:

  • Difficulty breathing when lying down
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fatigue
  • Fullness in the upper left abdomen
  • Headache
  • Itchy
  • Red skin sports
  • Red coloring of the face
  • Shortness of breath
  • Signs of phlebitis
  • Skin is bluish in color
  • Vision issues

Severe symptoms of polycythemia vera may include the following:

  • Acute myelogeous leukemia
  • Bleeding from the stomach or the areas of intestinal tract
  • Gout
  • Heart failure
  • Myelofibrosis
  • Thrombosis

Your doctor will conduct a physical exam and take a thorough history of your health. Some of the recommended tests may include:

  • Bone marrow biopsy
  • Complete blood count with differential
  • Comprehensive metabolic panel
  • Erythropoietin level
  • Genetic test for the JAKV617F mutation
  • Oxygen saturation of the blood
  • Red blood cell mass
  • Vitamin B12 level
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Treatment Options

Polycythemia vera develops slowly. The average patient does not experience any problems because of the disease. The objective of treatment is to eliminate the thickness of the blood to avoid bleeding or clotting. Possible treatments may include:

  • Aspirin
  • Chemotherapy
  • Medication
  • Phlebotomy
  • Ultraviolent-B light therapy