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Varicose Veins Cancer Symptoms

Varicose Veins Cancer Symptoms

Feb 19, 2024 | Blog, Vascular Issues

Varicose veins are often described as twisted and swollen blood vessels forming visible, blueish, or purple bulges under the patient’s legs. They often appear in the ankles, legs, and feet, sometimes even causing itching and pain. Often, they are also accompanied by spider veins, which are smaller purple or red lines on the skin’s surface surrounding these bulges.

Even though varicose veins and spider veins may cause discomfort, they aren’t dangerous in most cases. However, there are some instances in which they may signal a more serious problem. Sometimes, people may also mistake varicose veins for such serious conditions as cancer or tumor symptoms. Fortunately, varicose veins and malignancies are rarely linked together.

Our expert team at CACVI comprises seasoned and qualified medical experts with a comprehensive understanding of blood vessel-related conditions and diseases. Experienced professionals, such as Dr. Khorsandi, who have years of experience in diagnosing and treating vascular diseases, are more than competent to correctly assess the severity of these conditions. Coupled with state-of-the-art medical technology and a patient-centered approach, employing the right diagnosis and treatment is straightforward, prioritizing comfort and expertise. If you have any concerns or questions, reach out to us today!

In this article, our expert team aims to help readers better understand varicose veins, blood clots, blood flow, and spider veins, addressing the condition’s nature while also covering a more specific topic, namely, the link between varicose veins and cancer or another serious medical issue and when to seek medical advice.

The Link Between Varicose Veins and Cancer

The Link Between Varicose Veins and Cancer

These twisting and bulging veins often lead to the development of several symptoms, such as heavy legs, itching, swelling, pain, ulcers, and skin discolorations. Difficult-to-heal sores, skin discolorations, and chronic pain are common symptoms of untreated varicose veins. These are also the most prominent problems that are mistaken for cancer symptoms.

Still, it’s necessary to understand that these symptoms aren’t signaling malignancies; rather, they are the result of untreated varicose superficial veins. Patients may have concerns due to signs of enlarged veins, such as the itchy skin around the affected area, which may resemble the symptoms of lymphoma. Still, it’s vital to understand that lymphoma is also accompanied by other bodily changes, like unexplained fever and profuse night sweating, which have nothing to do with varicose veins. 

Also, the looks of the gnarly and twisted veins, along with the discolored skin surface, may also lead to concerns or skin cancer. Still, in most cases, there’s no need to panic. The changes that develop due to these types of malignancies most often constitute a variety of bumps, sores, and moles that may have irregular shapes, ooze, and may shift in shape and size over time. 

Understanding the disparities between symptoms of varicose veins and those indicative of cancer is paramount to mitigating unnecessary panic and ensuring prompt medical attention. While varicose veins often manifest as swollen, twisted veins, primarily in the legs, they are generally benign and pose minimal health risks.

Conversely, cancer symptoms can vary widely depending on the type and location of the malignancy, potentially encompassing swelling, discoloration, or changes in the skin. By recognizing these distinctions, individuals can alleviate undue anxiety and proactively seek medical evaluation when warranted. Timely consultation with healthcare professionals such as CACVI facilitates accurate diagnosis and appropriate management, fostering peace of mind and facilitating optimal health outcomes.

When to Seek Medical Attention or Advice

When to Seek Medical Attention or Advice

While varicose veins aren’t considered a serious medical condition, we encourage patients to monitor their symptoms so they can catch more serious medical problems early on. Additionally, don’t just think about varicose veins as a cosmetic issue; if you are experiencing persistent pain, the affected veins are changing their appearance, and you develop additional symptoms like difficult-to-heal itches and rashes, along with fever and night sweats, consult a medical professional.

On that note, to always remain on the safe side, patients should embrace the concept of regular check-ups, as dedicated medical experts have the experience to discover the slightest changes in varicose veins, not to mention they will also be able to address the problem with the most suitable treatment option.

Common Misconceptions About Varicose Veins and Cancer

Common Misconceptions About Varicose Veins and Cancer

There have been many rumors circulating about connecting cancer and varicose veins. In most cases, people can be relieved to know there’s no direct correlation between the two.

As mentioned above, in some cases, patients may experience symptoms of heaviness, chronic leg pain, ulcers, and skin discoloration, which may resemble signs associated with certain types of cancers, such as skin malignancies and lymphoma. Still, these tumors will manifest through other bodily changes that are in no correlation with varicose veins. 

Expert studies have concluded that varicose veins may sometimes mimic enlarged lymph nodes, leading to additional unnecessary panic in some patients. This is why seeking expert medical advice and establishing an accurate medical diagnosis is paramount.

Developing Varicose Veins and Cancer: Weak Links

Developing Varicose Veins and Cancer: Weak Links

From a causative standpoint, cancer and varicose veins aren’t directly linked together. Still, it’s essential to talk about potential confusion when it comes to the topic. The vascular system is immensely complex, so it’s no wonder that sometimes, people confuse the development of vein diseases and purple veins with something more serious that would require cancer treatment.

VTE and Cancer

For instance, some people may confuse varicose veins with venous diseases, VTE or venous thromboembolism, which includes deep vein thrombosis or DVT (a condition in which blood clot forms deep inside a vein, usually developing in the lower leg) and PE, or pulmonary embolism if a blood clot breaks loose and manages to travel to the lungs. While VTE and deep vein thrombosis aren’t directly linked to the development of cancer, it can be a common complication of the disease.

Angiosarcoma and Varicose Veins

Angiosarcoma represents a rare type of soft tissue cancer that may form in the lymph and blood vessels. Most often, this malignancy develops in the skin around the area of the neck and face, but rarely, it may also develop around other body parts, such as the breast, and may also form in deeper tissue, like the heart and liver. The malignancy may also appear in other areas that have been previously exposed to radiation therapy. 

Theoretically, because the malignancy affects the inner lining of blood vessels, it may affect varicose veins; however, this would be extremely rare.

Varicose Veins and Cancer: Potential Problems

While varicose veins can’t lead to cancer directly, their presence can cause problems in certain cases. For instance, there is an elevated risk for the development of VTE in patients who are diagnosed with cancer and also have varicose veins. In other words, cancer patients are more susceptible to blood clot formation while undergoing cancer treatments.

Also, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy have a higher risk of developing DVT compared to healthy individuals.

What Are Varicose Veins – Risk Factors and Symptoms

What Are Varicose Veins - Risk Factors and Symptoms

As already mentioned above, varicose veins are usually swollen, discolored, and twisted blood vessels that form visible bulges under the skin because faulty valves allow the blood to pool or flow in the wrong direction. 

Varicose veins can occur in anyone, but certain risk factors may increase the likelihood of developing varicose veins. These are:

  • Age: As we age, the valves and vein walls also start to stiffen and the chances of developing varicose veins increase.
  • Family history: Varicose veins tend to be hereditary, i.e., running in families.
  • General health: Specific conditions like severe constipation may increase vein pressure in leg veins and may lead to weak or damaged valves.
  • Lifestyle: Sitting or standing for too long may interfere with normal circulation. Also, tobacco use and wearing girdles or tight-waistbands and other restrictive clothing may also lead to the development of varicose veins. 
  • Being overweight: Excess body fat may put unnecessary pressure on blood vessels and already weakened valves.
  • Gender: Studies suggest that the production of certain female hormones can also speed up the development of varicose veins.

The symptoms of varicose veins are typically the following:

  • Heavy legs
  • Aching pain, leg pain
  • Itching
  • Bulging veins
  • Swelling
  • Ulcers and skin discolorations

Treatment Options for Varicose Veins

Treatment Options for Varicose Veins

Although varicose veins can’t be cured, there are several treatment options that can mitigate the problems they cause.

  • Elevation: On severe occasions, patients should elevate their legs above the waistline throughout the day. This simple movement can decrease pressure on the swollen veins and increase blood flow.
  • Special clothing: Wearing compression stockings can reduce discomfort by compressing the veins, helping blood flow, and stopping the veins from stretching. Also, this isn’t a cure for those experiencing varicose veins, but it can stop the condition from getting even worse.
  • Sclerotherapy or injection therapy: Medical experts inject a solution into the vein that causes the vein’s walls to stick together, closing it off. Generally, injection therapy is effective for most patients, but it does come with its own risks.
  • Laser therapy: This is another minimally invasive intervention in which experts use a laser and a catheter to close off damaged veins and address weakened valves.
  • Ligation and stripping: Also called vein surgery, during these interventions, surgeons tie off the affected veins, which is meant to stop the blood pooling. The veins may also be removed to prevent the recurrence of varicose veins.

    Remember, before considering any type of treatment, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider to find the most suitable option for you.

Are you showing Cancer Symptoms? Contact CACVI!

As mentioned before, varicose veins are definitely a cosmetic concern for most patients, but strictly from a medical standpoint, they aren’t considered overly dangerous. Contrary to some of the rumors spreading on the internet, these twisted, bulging veins aren’t linked to cancer.

It’s essential to monitor the symptoms of varicose veins (bulges, heaviness in the legs, possible skin discolorations) and report any sudden changes or new symptoms to your healthcare provider to rule out anything more serious. While some varicose vein symptoms, such as skin discoloration and rashes, may resemble symptoms of certain cancers, in nearly all cases, patients have nothing to worry about.

On that note, we highly encourage you to consult with our medical experts at CACVI if you want to learn more about varicose veins or look for a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs. Contact us today!


If you were told you need an amputation, get a second opinion! We are board certified consultants in endovascular interventions committed to improving the quality of your life and the lives of those you love!

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