Articles

Fight Blood Cancer with Awareness : Facts on Blood Cancer

by Dr Priya Sharma Healthcare Professional

What is Blood cancer ?

Blood cancer is a fatal disease that is caused due to uncontrolled growth of abnormal blood cells. The blood is made up of different types of cells namely, red blood cells for carrying oxygen, platelets to help blood clot and white blood cells to ward off infections. All the blood cells originate from stem cells. These stem cells have the ability to divide and mature into any type of blood cell.  In blood cancer, these immature blood cells divide rapidly and thus do not perform the normal functions properly. There are different types of blood cancer, depending upon the type of cells affected. They also can clog up the bone marrow thus preventing the development of the normal blood cells.



Types of Blood Cancer :

The 3 main types of blood cancer are-

  1. Myeloma- where plasma cells ( a type of white blood cells ) are affected, these prevent infections in the human body.

  2. Lymphoma- affects the lymphocytes, these cells are present in the spleen, lymph nodes, bone marrow, thymus, and other parts of the body. There are two types of lymphomas - Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 

  1. Leukemia - WBC’s are affected, preventing the formation of normal RBCs and platelets.



Causes of Blood Cancer :

● people with weak immune system and advancing age

● high levels of radiation exposure jobs

●patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy due to other diseases

● prolonged exposures to chemicals like benzene

● blood disorders like myelodysplastic syndrome, also called ‘preleukemia’

● conditions like - Fanconi’s anemia, Down syndrome and other Genetic Disorders

● family history of blood cancer  

● patients affected with HIV, AIDS 

● the risk of developing acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) increases for individuals who have chronic habit of smoking

● excessive and prolonged alcohol consumption


Common Symptoms in Blood Cancer Patients

Patients with blood cancer have the following symptoms-


● Excessive sweating at night or night sweats

● Nausea or vomiting

● Fever and chills

Blood in stool

● Persistent weakness and fatigue

● Joint pain

● Pale skin or itchy skin or skin rashes

● Decreased appetite 

Dizziness 

● Unusual bruising

● Bleeding gums

●Swollen and painless lymph nodes in regions of the neck, armpits, or groyne

● Frequent infection


There are many specialized hospitals and cancer specialists in India where Blood cancer treatment is done with great success and precision. People can book appointments with the same hospitals and get the best treatment advice and blood cancer diagnosis, blood cancer treatments. 


Diagnosis of Blood Cancer

The tests done to diagnose this cancer are- 


  1. CBC or Complete blood count: This measures the quantity and quality of blood cells - RBCs, WBC’s and Platelets. 

  2. Blood smear:  It checks if the blood cells look normal and if it is in the right quantity.

  3. Blood chemistry: This measures blood sugar, cholesterol, proteins, hormones, and other components in your blood. 

  4. White cell differential: This is used to measure the different kinds of white cells in your blood. This test tells how well the infection fighting capacity of the body. 

  5. Flow cytometry: This test measures the amount of white cells and notes their size, shape and cell surface markers. 

  6. Immunophenotyping: This helps to identify the different kinds of cancer cells. 

  7. Karyotype test: This test looks for variations in the size, shape, number, or arrangement of chromosomes in blood or bone marrow cells.

  8. Polymerase chain reaction: This test can spot markers of cancer and can pick up on important information that other tests miss. 


Stages of Blood Cancer

Once the diagnosis is done, staging is important to know the correct treatment plan. 

● Stage 0- The patient has high levels of white blood cells. There are no physical symptoms.

● Stage 1- The patient has high levels of white blood cells and enlarged lymph nodes.

● Stage 2– The patient has high levels of white blood cells and is anemic. They have very large lymph nodes. 

● Stage 3– Along with stage 2 symptoms , the patient also has enlarged spleen, liver etc. 

● Stage 4- The patient has high levels of white blood cells and low platelets. He or she can also be anemic, have enlarged lymph nodes, and have an enlarged liver or spleen.


Treatments of Blood Cancer

The basic method of treatment is- 

  1. Induction Therapy – Kills Leukemia cells in the bone marrow by chemotherapy. 

  2. Consolidation Therapy- Reduces the chance of relapse by stem cell transplant or chemotherapy. 

  3. Maintenance Therapy- Uses lower doses and fewer cycles of therapy to ensure the complete eradication of Leukemia. 

The several alternatives are :

  • Chemotherapy where a combination of drugs is injected intravenously or given in the pill form. It has many side effects such as swelling, hair fall, weight gain and diarrhea.

  • Biological Therapy helps the immune system of the body to identify the Leukemia cells and to slow their growth or kill them. 

  • Targeted Therapy where the method involves the use of drugs which attack specific weaknesses of the cancer cells, such as it stops the production of proteins in cancer cells due to which they die.

  • Radiation Therapy uses X-Rays to kill the cancer cells in a targeted location or sometimes even the whole body. This therapy is essential before a stem cell transplant.

  • Bone Marrow Transplant / Stem Cell Transplant in which bone marrow or the stem cells are taken from a compatible donor, preferably closest relatives, and are used to replace the diseased bone marrow. 




We hope we could answer your doubts about blood cancer treatment through this article. 


We do not recommend any medications or treatment to anyone. 


Only the best cancer specialist will advise you on the best treatment plan. 


Dr Priya Sharma is a healthcare professional / content management head at an online healthcare platform Logintohealth. Please visit www.logintohealth.com or www.logintohealth.com/blog to read more health related blogs.



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About Dr Priya Sharma Junior   Healthcare Professional

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Joined APSense since, March 21st, 2022, From Lucknow, India.

Created on Mar 22nd 2022 07:41. Viewed 112 times.

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