Polycythemia Vera (PV) is a variety of blood cancer that causes a person’s bone marrow to produce too many red blood cells which thicken the blood, slow its flow and can cause potentially serious problems such as blood clots. PV is a rare disease that tends to develop slowly over a long period of time with sufferers often unaware they have the condition until a blood test shows its presence.

Often people that have the condition do not exhibit noticeable PV symptoms; the following specific symptoms, however, are indicators of the disease:

• Itchiness after a bath or shower

• Numbness or a tingling or burning sensation in the hands, arms, feet or legs

• A feeling of fullness immediately after eating, bloating or a pain in the abdomen caused by an enlarged spleen

• Nosebleeds or bleeding gums

• Painful swelling of a joint (often the big toe)

• Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing when in a prone position