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What are some of the most commonly seen symptoms associated with PV?

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Patients with PV can exhibit a wide variety of signs and symptoms. Patients can be largely asymptomatic or can have heavy burden of symptoms. Some of the symptoms that we often encounter are fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, and itching.

Patients can have debilitating itching which often doesn’t respond to many of the conventional medical treatments that we have.

There are several different symptom clusters that can occur. Patients can have symptoms that are relatable to an enlarged spleen that can cause pain and difficulty eating large meals. Patients can have a symptom cluster related to viscosity of their blood, and that can often manifest with things like headaches, for example, and sometimes burning in the palms and in the soles. And then finally there is a cytokine symptom cluster that can involve things like muscle aches and fatigue, and generally not feeling well.

It’s absolutely important to keep track of a patient’s symptom burden. We know that symptoms can be debilitating in this disease, and so they do represent an important end point that we need to follow. One important aspect of that is that the symptom burden may not correlate to the patient’s hematocrit. A patient can have a very high symptom burden despite having adequate control of their counts, in terms of the hematocrit. We need to think about these things separately.

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Raajit K Rampal, MD, PhD Hematologic Oncologist Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | New York, NY
Dr Rampal is a hematology-oncology physician specializing in the treatment of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and leukemia. As an active researcher, Dr Rampal is working to understand the genetic events that contribute to the development and progression of MPNs/leukemia and is focused on the development of new and innovative approaches to the treatment of these diseases.