Polycythemia vera is an extremely rare health condition that affects approximately only 2 out of every 100, 000 people. The symptoms of PV can include fatigue and itching, headaches and bleeding from the gums – and if you experience any symptoms associated with PV, it could mean you have a very serious though rare type of blood cancer.
This could put you at risk of developing other conditions, too – and it’s important to understand your condition.
It can be terrifying to be diagnosed with a condition like this, especially when nobody else has heard of it before. If you have just been diagnosed with PV, there are a few things that you should know – including the fact that while PV has no cure, the condition can be managed with a combination of lifestyle changes and the right medication.
Here are 10 facts about PV that you might not have known about.
1. PV is generally not inherited from a family member
There are many different types of cancers out there, and in many of those cases (such as breast, prostate or uterine cancer) see genetic factors play a huge role; one of the first questions a doctor will ask you is whether or not you have a history of health conditions, especially cancers, in your family. But in the case of PV, this isn’t true at all – and while the condition is caused by a genetic mutation, it’s not one that’s inherited or passed on from one generation to the next.
Instead, the genes that are affected by PV are only present in certain cells – and thus can’t be genetically passed on. While you can’t inherit the disease or gene mutation itself, you can inherit a predisposition to developing cancer (and PV) – and should still take care if there’s any family history of any other types of cancer in your family, because this can automatically mean you are at a higher risk of developing it yourself.