Originating in the bone marrow, Blood Cancer occurs due to abnormal growth of blood cells. It could also happen when the bone marrow stops producing healthy blood cells or when the multiplication of cells happens at an abnormal pace. Blood cells are of different types:
These originate from stem cells. These stem cells can develop into different types of blood cells through a process called ‘differentiation.' If complications occur during this process, it can be the leading cause of Blood Cancer. Though there is no official screening test to detect blood cancer, one can identify it with the symptoms caused by it. Also, with the extensive research conducted in recent years, the death rate due to Blood Cancer has been drastically reduced. Depending upon the type of blood cancer, there is at least a 63% chance that a Blood Cancer patient will live five years or longer.
Leukemia is caused by the abnormal production of blood cells in the bone marrow of the body. In leukemia, white blood cells multiply abnormally and are unable to fight infections, harmful bacterias, and viruses entering the body. The large-scale production of white blood cells also hinders the production of red blood cells and Platelets. There are four main types of Leukemia :
Your lymph system is made up of lymph nodes, spleen, throat, thymus, and lymphatic tissue found in the small intestine. It has the primary function of moving the white blood cells to and from the lymph nodes. Cancer in the lymphatic system is called Lymphoma. In lymphoma, your body produces large amounts of lymphocytes or white blood cells. These lymphocytes also live longer than they should. They weaken the immune system of the body as well as stop other blood cells from doing their functions. Lymphoma is categorized into two types. Hodgkin's Lymphoma: This kind of Lymphoma starts in B-cells that are responsible for forming antibodies for the body and can be identified by the presence of large lymphocytes at the lymph nodes, known as Reed-Sternberg. Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: This kind of Blood Cancer is observed in T-cells of the body and is more common than Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
Myeloma is a type of Blood Cancer that affects the white blood cells that make antibodies called plasma cells. This Blood Cancer can be found in various parts of bone marrow. It occurs when B-cells do not develop into plasma cells, and these immature cells are produced rapidly. They produce antibodies that cannot ward off the body from infections and hinder the function of other normal cells as well. It also leads to the production of toxins that weaken the bones, causing thinning and weakening. This results in Pain in the body and, in some cases, fracture. One can have this kind of Blood Cancer if they are obese, have a family history of myeloma, or have had prolonged exposure to radiation.
Usually, Blood Cancer can be confused with a weaker immune system. Sometimes, cancer symptoms are not obvious and can appear years later after the Blood Cancer has already affected the body. The most common symptoms are as follows:
Blood cancer is caused due to defects that occur in the DNA of blood cells, especially white blood cells. The defect causes white blood cells to grow abnormally. The white blood cells, when they develop from the stem cells present in the bone marrow, either behave abnormally or are produced on a large-scale. They do not die as per their natural process. Instead, they live on and increase in population, outnumbering the normally functioning cells. They block the bone marrow and fail to produce antibodies, thus hindering the functioning of the blood cells. Though doctors believe that the primary cause of Blood Cancer is the development of an unusual chromosome in the DNA, no definite cause of Blood Cancer has been found yet. The research behind the cause and how to prevent it at the beginning is still going on in several countries and is building pace as the years go by. Soon, medical science will be able to eradicate Blood Cancer at its elementary stage.
Through years of study and research that was done on people who have blood cancer, scientists and specialists have curated a list of risk factors that may trigger the occurrence of Blood Cancer in a person. Though these risk factors are not solely responsible for blood cancer, they may have a part in causing Blood Cancer.
The definite cause of Blood Cancer is still unknown. In most cases, Blood Cancer cannot be prevented as it is either genetic or due to the family history of Blood Cancer. The preventive methods include steps that should be taken to lead a healthy lifestyle. These preventive measures can surely decrease the chances of getting Blood Cancer.
Smoking has been reported as a risk factor for developing various types of cancer, such as lung cancer, mouth cancer, and Blood Cancer. If you are an active smoker, or you live in an environment where passive smoking is inevident for you, avoid inhaling the smoke at all costs.
Chemicals such as benzene, pesticides, and insecticides should be avoided. Coming in contact with these chemicals for a longer period of time can trigger the abnormal production of blood cells in the bone marrow.
An active and healthy lifestyle is essential to prevent any type of disease, including Blood Cancer. Exercise regularly, eat nutritious food to adhere to a balanced diet, and make sure to look after your overall physical health.
Recognizing the cancer symptoms in the initial stages can only be possible by undergoing regular checkups. Most importantly, if you have a family history of blood cancer, or you are subjected to a weakened immune system, make sure to consult your doctor over regular periods of time to diagnose any early symptoms of Blood Cancer.
Blood cancer can be diagnosed during a routine checkup or a Blood Test done for some other purpose. People who have acute Blood Cancer show primary cancer symptoms which spread rapidly and are prescribed for tests immediately. These tests can be daunting to understand and go through. However, a little research and consultation with the doctor can make your decision clearer.
In a Blood Cancer biopsy, a small part of the bone marrow is extracted from the patient's bones to be observed under a microscope to determine if any abnormal cells are growing in the bone marrow. This is done periodically during the treatment to know the success of the Cancer Treatment.
To determine if the person has lymphoma, the person is made to undergo a small operation to extract a small part of the lymph node and examine it.
For the people with suspected myeloma, x-rays are really helpful to examine bones and how Cancer Treatment is affecting them.
To test which kind of Cancer Treatment would be best for you, the doctor may conduct a chromosomal test to identify if you have an extra copy of chromosome 8 or 21.
Blood Cancer can be categorized into different stages, as follows:
Stage 0: At this Blood Cancer stage, the growth of cancerous cells is still located at the place where it started and has not spread to neighboring tissues. The treatment of this stage is manageable, and the tumor can be completely removed with the help of Surgery.
Stage 1: Cancer has not yet spread to lymph nodes or affected any part of the body in this Blood Cancer stage, though the number of lymphocytes has drastically increased. Biological therapy and Immunotherapy can be used to eradicate the cancerous cells from the body.
Stage 2 and 3: Growth of lymphocytes increases in this stage such that organs of the lymphatic system increase in size, including spleen, lymph nodes, liver, etc. Also, anemia is detected in this stage. At this Blood Cancer stage, Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy are needed to treat the Blood Cancer. The survival rate for Stage 3 Multiple Myeloma is 48%.
Stage 4: Cancer has reached its advanced stage and spread to other parts of the body. The number of cancerous cells is higher than healthy cells in the body. Organs such as lungs start to get affected by the abnormal cells, and anemia is now acute. The survival rate of cancer patients in stage 4 depends on their age and blood cell count. For adults, it is 65%. Blood Cancer is of different types and requires different measures to treat and cure it. Chronic Blood Cancer can be treated by daily medication as it grows slowly in the body, whereas acute Blood Cancer needs intense care and treatment immediately after detection.
Cancer treatment may also depend upon the personal choice of the patient. Following are the options available for treatment:
This refers to the Cancer Treatment meant for the healing of the cancer patient by keeping in mind the whole body of the person as well as the lifestyle they follow. This includes mental health therapy, acupuncture, Pain management, and nutritional management so that the whole body of the cancer patient can be in the state of health required to fight through cancer.
Remission is the state in which the cancer cells and symptoms can no longer be detected in the body. This state is also called NED or No Evidence of Disease. Remission can be temporary or permanent. Moreover, with the advancement of medical sciences, the rate of Blood Cancer returning has decreased.
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