What is blood cancer?
In blood cancer, Healthy blood cells incorporate a balance of different cell types essentially. Most blood cancers, or, in other words, hematologic cancers, start in the bone marrow, where blood is produced. Blood cancers occur when abnormal blood cells start growing out of control while interrupting the normal blood cells’ function, which fights off infection and produces new blood cells.
Blood cancer symptoms differ depending on the type of blood cancer, whether it’s leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, MDS, MPN, or another.
Symptoms of blood cancer include:
- Unknown cause of weight loss
- Unidentified bruising or bleeding
- Swellings or lumps
- Breathing difficulty (breathlessness)
- Sweating during the night
- Persistent, recurring, or severe infections
- Unexplained fever (38°C or higher)
- Unknown cause of a rash or itchy skin
- Bone, joint, or abdominal pain (stomach area)
- Tiredness that is not alleviated by rest or sleep (fatigue)
- Paleness (pallor)
Symptoms in different skin tones
Some blood cancer symptoms may appear differently on different skin tones.
- Bruises typically begin as red patches that change color and become darker over time. They frequently feel tender. Bruises on various black and brown skin may be difficult to see at first, but as they develop, they become darker than the skin around them.
- Rashes are frequently manifested as clusters of tiny spots (petechiae) or larger blotches (purpura). They may appear purple or darker than the surrounding skin on black and brown skin. They usually appear red or purple on lighter skin. Petechiae and purpura do not fade when pressed.
- Paleness (pallor) can occur when a person has an abnormally low number of red blood cells. Pallor is frequently more visible in light skin. People with dark skin may appear greyish, and their palms may appear paler than usual. Pallor in the lips, gums, tongue or nail beds may also be noticed. Pallor can, however, be seen by pulling down the lower eyelid in all skin tones. The inside is usually dark pink or red, but pale pink or white indicates pallor.
Tiredness, breathlessness, paleness
Caused by anaemia (a low level of red blood cells)
Red blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body. Anaemia can occur if a person does not have enough red blood cells. Anaemia can cause fatigue that does not go away with rest or sleep, as well as breathlessness even when resting and pallor (pallor). Pulling down your lower eyelid reveals pallor; the inside will appear white or pale pink rather than dark pink or red.
Other anemia symptoms include dizziness and also headaches.
Unknown cause of the rash, bruising, or also bleeding
This is caused by a low level of platelets, which aid in blood clotting.
Bruises are a sign of bleeding beneath the skin and are frequently caused by an injury, but if they appear for no apparent reason, they can be a sign of low platelets. During blood cancer, they appear darker or different from the surrounding skin and may feel tender when touched.
Small spots on the skin (petechiae) or larger discolored patches are possible (purpura). These appear to be rashes, but they are actually clusters of small bruises. Petechiae and purpura typically appear purple or darker than the surrounding skin on black and brown skin and red or purple on lighter skin.
You may experience:
- Nose or gum bleeding;
- Prolonged bleeding from a cut;
- Heavy periods;
- Blood in your urine or feces.
- A bleed into the brain can cause neurological symptoms in sporadic cases.
Infections or unexplained fever
These are caused by low white blood cells, which fight infection.
Even if there are no other apparent signs of infection, you may develop persistent, recurring, severe infections or even have a high temperature (38°C or higher). Flu-like symptoms, such as chills or shivering, coughing, or a sore throat, can be caused by infections during blood cancer.
Lumps and swellings
These are caused by abnormal white blood cells in your lymph glands.
These are most likely felt in your neck, armpit, or groyne. They are usually painless, though some people experience discomfort. Lumps or swellings within your body that press on organs like your lungs can cause pain, discomfort, or shortness of breath during blood cancer.
Caused by damage to your bones
Myeloma can potentially cause pain in any major bone, which includes the back, ribs, and also hips during blood cancer.
Unexplained weight loss
Cancer cells and the body’s response to them can alter metabolism and cause muscle and fat loss during blood cancer.
Problems in the abdomen (stomach area)
These are caused by abnormal blood cells building up in your spleen
You may feel full after only a small amount of food, have discomfort under your ribs on the left side, bloating or swelling, and, on rare occasions, have pain during blood cancer.
Acute blood cancer symptoms
These are caused by a very high level of white blood cells.
Some types of blood cancer, such as acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), develop quickly and cause severe illness. This is referred to as leucocytosis or a blast crisis. Breathing problems and neurological symptoms such as visual changes, confusion, vomiting, loss of muscle control, or seizures may occur during blood cancer. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention right away.