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Prognosis for polycythaemia vera (PV)

We're here for you if you want to talk

0808 2080 888

[email protected]

Polycythaemia vera (PV) is a treatable type of blood cancer. Although it can’t be cured, it can be managed effectively.

Living with polycythaemia vera (PV)

Many people say that they expected the worst when they were told they had a type of blood cancer, but in time realised that PV was something they could live with.

Your prognosis (what will happen in the future) depends on things that are individual to you, such as your age and fitness, whether you have had blood clots in the past, and which genetic mutation you have. Your specialist doctor (haematologist) is the best person to ask about your prognosis because they have the best understanding of your overall health and the type of the PV you have.

Some symptoms of PV might affect how you live from day to day. Some people have periods of fatigue (extreme tiredness). Some experience itching, which can be severe. But with a few adjustments, most people find they can get on with their lives, and continue to do the things they enjoy.

The risk of PV progressing

In a few cases, PV can develop into another type of MPN called myelofibrosis. Even more rarely, it can develop into a type of leukaemia called acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

The risk of either of these things happening is low for everyone, but there is some evidence that it increases the longer you have PV. If you have been diagnosed with PV at a younger age, this is understandably worrying.

Talk to your hospital team if you are concerned about this or anything else about your prognosis – they may be able to reassure you or refer you for psychological help. Or depending on where you live, you may be able to refer yourself.

Our Support Service and online community forum are also good places to go for emotional support and understanding.

PV research

Many people find hope in the knowledge that scientists are researching better and kinder treatments for PV and other MPNs. Read more about our research into MPNs – choose myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) in the drop-down menu.

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Worried or have questions about prognosis?

We can talk you through it and support you to have conversations with your doctor.

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