Q. Does having a low vitamin B12 level indicate cancer or polycythemia vera in a 35-year-old healthy individual?

Answered by
Dr. Goswami Parth Rajendragiri
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 23, 2022

Hi doctor,

I am a 35-year-old male. Last week I went to the doctor for a regular check-up and found that I am deficient in vitamin B12. I eat meat and egg almost every day of the week. I am healthy, and I work hard. Also, I sleep well and eat well. I have attached my recent reports for your reference. I do not smoke but I drink on weekends in moderation. Even though I am a non-vegetarian, my question is, how can I become B12-deficient? Do you think I have stomach cancer or polycythemia vera?

Please help me. I am worried.

Kindly suggest me a treatment plan.



Welcome to

I went through your query and understood your concern.

There are many causes for vitamin B12 deficiency. Please do not directly think about a cancerous condition. In stomach cancer, symptoms like chronic abdominal pain, nausea, or blood in the stool can be present. You have no such symptom. In polycythemia vera, HCT (hematocrit test), RBC (red blood cells), and Hb (hemoglobin) count will be high, which is not present here in your case (attachment removed to protect the patient's identity).

A few parasite infections like D. Latum (Dibothriocephalus Latus), pernicious anemia, bacterial overgrowth, intestinal infections, intrinsic factor deficiency, chronic alcoholism, etc., can be a possibility.

So, I suggest you to take Cyanocobalamin injections I.M (intramuscular) once a week for eight weeks for vitamin B12 deficiency.

However, I suggest you to consult a physician for further examination.

I hope this helps.

Kindly follow up if you have more doubts.

Take care.

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