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What Are the Causes of Polycythemia Vera?

Polycythemia vera (PV) is complex and may have many contributing factors. Scientists think that it may be related to changes in certain genes. These changes are called “mutations.”

In most people with PV, mutations may cause the bone marrow to make an abnormal number of red blood cells. This imbalance of blood cells may cause some of the symptoms associated with PV.

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People know that I have a rare blood cancer called PV. What they don't know is what's going on inside me. —Mickey, PV Community Member

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Another cause of symptoms may be the overproduction of certain proteins called “cytokines.” Cytokines can cause inflammation. When your body has too many of these cytokines, you may experience itching, night sweats, and some other symptoms of PV.

Your Healthcare Professional may do a blood test to see if you have a mutation that may cause PV.

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