Blood cancer is the condition when blood cells turn abnormal or malignant. The most common site of origin for most of these cancers is our bone marrow, where blood cells are made.The three main types of blood cancer are Leukaemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.
Very few blood cancers form solid lumps and some turn intotumors. Even the symptoms of blood cancer are also non-specific.It can resemble the symptoms of other diseases, making them difficult to distinguish from other illnesses.
Symptoms of Blood Cancer
Here listed are the most common symptoms that mean you might have blood cancer. Depending on the type of blood cancer, a patient might experience various symptoms. Sometimes, symptoms may be difficult to distinguish for mother conditions, such as the flu. Common symptoms are:
- Fever and chills.
- Sore throat.
- Easily tired.
- Sweating at night.
- Weight decreased drastically.
- Red spots on the skin.
- Frequently infected.
- Swollen lymph nodes.
- Pain in the joints.
- Easy bruising and bleeding.
- Hard to breathe.
When to visit doctor
If you experience any of the above symptoms frequently, you should see a doctor. A physician will examine you in an effort to detect the disease early and treat it effectively.A hematologist (blood doctor) will remain involved with a blood cancer patient, whether they are currently undergoing treatment. The treatment is meant to keep a track of the disease’s progress so that it can be spotted early.
A popular reason for the development of blood cancers is smoking. Consult your doctor immediately if you’re trying to quit smoking. Another cause of blood cancer can be exposure to nuclear radiation and chemicals in the workplace. Regular medical check ups for employees are mandated by many company policies.
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Causes of Blood Cancer
Leukemia is when the body’s own white blood cells undergo genetic mutations. In this case, cells become abnormal and grow uncontrollably as a result of alterations. Cancer-infected cells lack the ability to clot blood and fight infections.
Blood cancer is divided into three categories based on the type of blood cell and the location of cancer. Stated below are the categories:
Leukemia is caused by deficiencies in bone marrow cell development. Instead of helping the body’s ability to fight infection, leukemia cells remain in the body and suppress the growth of other blood cells. The infected cells enter the bloodstream and spread to other organs of the body.
Lymphocytes are the white blood cells that fight infection and eliminate metabolic waste products.Lymphomas target these cells. There are lymphocytes in the spleen, lymph nodes, thymus gland, and almost every part of the body, including the bone marrow.
Lymphocytes in lymphoma patients suffer mutations and uncontrolled growth. Cancer will weaken the immune system.It makes the body more vulnerable to infection.
Myeloma attacks plasmocytes. Plasmocytes are the white blood cells that produce antibodies to fight infection. When antibody production is disrupted the patient is more vulnerable to infection. When these abnormal plasma cells first appear in the bone marrow they quickly multiply. This is known as multiple myeloma. It produce antibodies that harm organs like the bones and kidneys & thrive in the body.
Blood Cancer Risk Factors
Several risk factors of blood cancer include:
- Male sex.
- Over 55 years of age.
- Suffering from immune system disorders, like HIV/AIDS.
- Taking immunosuppressive drugs.
- Infection with the Epstein-Barr virus or pylori.
- Exposure to chemical compounds like pesticides.
Diagnosis of Blood Cancer
Diagnosis of blood cancer involves the following tests:
The number of red, white, and platelet blood cells are determined by the doctor. Abnormally shaped blood cells and abnormally high or low numbers of blood cells raise the chances of blood cancer.Serum protein electrophoresis and immunofixation can be performed by the doctor to detect multiple myeloma and the aggressiveness of cancer cells. Blood tests for kidney function, calcium levels, and uric acid levels are very low in patients with multiple myeloma.
Aspiration of bone marrow is performed with a needle to extract a small amount of tissue from the patient’s bone marrow. To identify the specific type of blood cancer, a sample of the tissue will be examined in a lab.
A biopsy to remove a small amount of tissue from a swollen lymph node for microscopic examination is performed.
Blood Cancer Treatment
After a confirmed blood cancer diagnosis, the doctor will sit down and go over the next steps in the treatment process. The type of cancer, age, and health of the patient influences the treatment options available. For example, chlorambucil, is a drug that is administered to kill cancer cells. This medication can be taken either orally. Or there’s radiation therapy radiation to destroy cancer cells and inhibit their growth.
Prevention of Blood Cancer
Blood cancer can’t be prevented but the risk of developing this disease can be minimized:
- Giving up smoking.
- Consume more healthy nutritious foods.
- Exercising every day to stay at your ideal weight.
- Follow safety procedures when working with radiation or chemical compounds like formalin, pesticides, or benzene. Wear personal protective equipment (PPE).
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