Blood cancer is a group of diseases, each of which impedes the standard functioning of blood cells and weakens the system gradually. The common blood cancer symptoms are coughing, chest pain, night sweats, fever, and more.
Blood cancer includes a large scale of malignancies. This group includes the accumulation of cancerous cells in bone marrow, blood, and lymphatic system.
- By 2020, about 58000 Males and 65000 Females are expected to develop blood cancer in India.
- The statistics have proven that Leukemia and Lymphoma are types of blood cancers are most common in children, followed by Males, then Females.
Causes of Blood Cancers
There are disparate causes of blood cancer. Some of them are:
- A weakened immune system
- High doses of radiation
- Contact with a harmful chemical called Benzene, used in petrol and the solvent is used in the rubber and plastic industry.
- Genetic anarchy; like – Fanconi anemia, Schwachman- diamond syndrome and down syndrome
- Carcinogenic chemicals and exposure to radiation.
- HIV Infection
- Increase in age
Blood cancer symptoms
Each type of blood cancer is different, but they can share some common symptoms. Some common blood cancer symptoms include:
- Coughing or chest pain
- Frequent infections
- Itchy skin
- Loss of appetite
- Night sweats
- Persistent weakness and fatigue
- Shortness of breath
Types of Blood Cancer
Primarily there are three types of blood cancer, and each type can have certain variances:
Leukemia is the type of blood cancer that affects white blood cells. With the high rate of a multiplicity of the cancerous cells, they either affect the bone marrow or circulatory system.
Our blood cells are made inside our bone marrow, and this is the place where leukemia starts.
It also causes our body to make white blood cells that grow out of control and live longer than they’re supposed to.
There are many different forms of leukemia.
Some get worse quickly. The person will probably feel very sick very suddenly like will come down with the flu
auxiliary forms can take years to cause symptoms. The first clue may be abnormal results on a routine blood test.
Symptoms are sometimes not visible or may differ or vary according to the severity of the disease. In this disease, it is supposed to be triggered by a weakened immune system, age.
Symptoms of Leukemia
The major symptoms include
- Extreme fatigue,
- General weakness.
- Sweat excessively
- Bouts of breath shortness
- Vulnerability to germs and infections
- swellings on a body like lumps in armpits and neck (Cancer cells can build up in your lymph nodes, tonsils, liver, and spleen and cause them to swell).
- Fullness of abdomen
- Food aversion
- Loss of weight
- Pale skin
- Chest pain
- Poor clotting ( Platelets are the cells that are responsible for blood clotting. When our body doesn’t make enough of them, small cuts may bleed)
- Unusual bruising
- Bleeding gums
- lilliputian red dots on your skin from broken blood vessels
- Heavy periods
- Bowel movements that are black or brindled with red.
recurrent infections (our white blood cells don’t fight infection well, we will get sick more often and take longer to get over it.)
- Bone pain (Due to the growth of cancer cells in your bone marrow).
Lymphocytes are one of the types of white blood corpuscles (WBC). The cancerous cell changes in these lymphocytes can lead to the development of Lymphoma.
The lymph system carries one of the important cells of our body that are infection-fighting white blood cells, which are also called lymphocytes, they help to get rid of waste. Lymphoma causes our body to make lymphocytes that grow out of control and make it harder for the body to fight infection.
Symptoms of Lymphoma
- Swollen lymph nodes are noticed like a lump in the neck, armpit, or groin. ( the main sign of lymphoma). – mostly these swellings are painless
- When further these cancerous cells go inside the body, they may press on your organs and cause symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath, or pain in the chest, belly, or bones.
- The spleen may get bigger, making the person feel full or bloated.
- Night sweats
- Feeling tired
- Unexplained weight loss
- Itchy skin
This type of blood cancer where the cancerous formation affects the plasma
The plasma cell is another type of disease-fighting cell in the bloodstream. This type of blood cancer, Multiple myelomas can cause the bone marrow to make plasma cells that grow out of control and keep the body from making enough healthy blood cells. They also release various chemicals into the blood that can hurt the organs and tissues, leading to their failure.
This is the most common form of blood cancer, multiple myeloma.
Symptoms of Myeloma
- The generic feel of fatigue
- Painful back
- Susceptibility to infection
- Breath shortness
- Bouts of numbness
- Chest pain
- Bone pain ( The most common sign of multiple myeloma and this causes long-lasting pain, especially in the back or ribs. The reason is that the cancer cells release a chemical that stops the normal growth process and healing process in the bones when affected thereby leading to thin and weak and can break easily.)
- Damage to the bones in the spine can sometimes put pressure on the nerves and cause severe excruciating pain or weakness in the legs, tingling in the arms, and loss of bowel or bladder control.
- Hypercalcemia: The condition where an excess amount of calcium in the blood. This condition is seen in Multiple myelomas
- Nausea and stomach pain
- Excessive thirst and urination
- Loss of appetite
- kidney failure (Too much calcium in the blood can also hurt your kidneys.)
- swollen ankles,
- shortness of breath,
- itchy skin.
Treatment of Blood Cancers
There are various medical modalities of treatment are present that include:
These both are conventional modes of treatment for blood cancer.
Other modalities include :
- Stem cells and bone marrow transplantations.
Symptoms of blood cancer can appear at any time. Therefore taking applicable preventive measures are of utmost importance. Some of them are:
Subsequently, prevention is better than cure a few precautions can help to avoid the development of blood cancer like
- Taking a balanced diet
- regular exercise for a healthy lifestyle
- Avoiding processed meat/fish items
- Lowered consumption of Trans or saturated fats
- Regular exposure to fresh air is necessary
- Stay away from herbicides and chemicals
Frequently asked questions
Is multiple myeloma a fatal disease?
In the united states, multiple myeloma is the 14th leading cause of cancer deaths. SEER estimates that in2014, an estimated 118,539 Americans were living with multiple myeloma. According to surveillance, epidemiology, and ends results, the average life expectancy of multiple myeloma remains at 4 years for the third year in a row. However, some patients defeat the odds and live 10 to 20 years or more.
Is low white blood cells a sign of cancer?
A person with cancer can develop a low WBC count from cancer or from treatment for cancer. Cancer may be in the bone marrow, causing fewer neutrophils to be made. The WBC (white blood cells) count decrease when cancer is treated with chemotherapy drugs, which slow bone marrow production of healthy WBCs.
Can you live with cancer for years without knowing?
Some cancers are more easily detected than others. But other cancers can form and grow undetected for 10 years or more, as one of the studies found, making diagnosis and treatment that much more difficult.
Which type of leukemia is most fatal?
According to the genetic profile, acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is one of the lethal blood cancers. Patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) typically survive for only four to six months after diagnosis, even with belligerent chemotherapy.