People with polycythemia vera are likely to live a normal lifespan with the proper treatments and precautions, according to the MPN Research Foundation. However, people with PV should monitor and take medication for secondary conditions that can develop from the blood cancer, such as heart attacks, strokes, thromboses and embolisms.
PV is typically detected early and before any symptoms occur, MedlinePlus reports. PV develops slowly in most people, and the likelihood for experiencing problems after a diagnosis is low. Treatment for PV is usually geared toward reducing blood thickness via phlebotomy, but some cases require chemotherapy and other treatments to reduce blood counts and platelets. Acute myelogenous leukemia, heart failure and stroke are among the most life-threatening complications that can develop from PV.