Blood Cancer Awareness Month 2023: Know The Types, Causes, Sign And Symptoms

Blood Cancer Awareness Month 2023: Know The Types, Causes, Sign And Symptoms

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<p style="font-weight: 400;">Blood cancer, also known as leukemia, is a type of cancer which develops from the blood forming cells present in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is the central soft part of our long bones. Since a normal healthy bone marrow produces red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, the blood cancer affects the normal production of these cells resulting in deficiency of red blood cells (causing anemia), white blood cells (causing infections) and platelets (resulting in bleeding).</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">To know more about it,&nbsp;<strong>ABP Live&nbsp;</strong>sought the opinion of experts who shared the causes, symptoms and treatment options for blood cancer. But, before that, let’s know hoe blood cancer’s develop.</p>
<h3 style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>How Do Blood Cancers Develop?</strong></h3>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Dr Mohit Sharma, who is a Senior Consultant &amp; HOD, Deptatment Of Medical Oncology-Fortis Cancer Institute, at Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad said, "Blood cancers develop when blood cells aren&rsquo;t made properly. In most blood cancers, the normal cell production is interrupted by uncontrolled growth of an abnormal type of blood cell. This can reduce the bone marrow&rsquo;s ability to produce normal levels of other blood cells, which affects the way that the rest of the body works. Meanwhile, the abnormal cells spill out into the bloodstream."</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">"As the abnormal blood cells build up in the blood, they can spread to the lymph glands (lymph nodes), spleen, liver, lungs and kidneys. Without treatment, many of the body&rsquo;s key functions will be increasingly affected," he added.</p>
<h3 style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>What Are The Main Groups Of Blood Cancer?</strong></h3>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">The three main groups of blood cancer as mentioned by Dr Mohit Sharma are:</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>1. Leukaemia</strong></p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Cancer that originates in blood-forming tissue. It is named according to the type of white blood cell that is affected and whether it is fast growing (acute) or slow growing (chronic).</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">There are four types:</p>
<ul>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">Acute Myeloid</li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">Acute Lymphoblastic</li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">Chronic Lymphocytic</li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">Chronic Myeloid</li>
</ul>
<p style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>2. Lymphoma:</strong></p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Cancer that develops in the lymphatic system from cells called lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight infection.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">There are two main types:</p>
<ul>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">Hodgkin&rsquo;s Lymphoma</li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">Non Hodgkin&rsquo;s Lymphoma</li>
</ul>
<p style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>3. Myeloma:</strong></p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Myeloma is a cancer that begins in the blood&rsquo;s plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that is made in the bone marrow.</p>
<h3><strong>Symptoms Of Blood Cancer:</strong></h3>
<p><span lang="EN-US">Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Sharma</span><span lang="EN-US">, who is a </span><span lang="EN-US">Director</span><span lang="EN-US">,&nbsp;</span><span lang="EN-US">Hemato-oncology and BMT, at BLK-MAX Super Speciality Hospital said, "A</span>ny patient presenting with weakness, fever, and bleeding from nose, mouth or blue patches on skin should be evaluated for blood cancers. Some patients with blood cancer can also develop swelling of their glands called as lymph-adenopathy. Diffuse bony pains, gum swelling, weight loss, night sweats and loss of appetite are some other symptoms of blood cancers."</p>
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Additioanlly, Dr. Sameer A. Tulpule who is a Consultant, haemato-oncology and bone marrow transplantation at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai laid down the following symptoms that can occur:</span></p>
<ul>
<li><span style="font-weight: 400;">Weight loss that is unexplained</span></li>
<li><span style="font-weight: 400;">Bruising or bleeding that is unexplained</span></li>
<li><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lumps or swellings</span></li>
<li><span style="font-weight: 400;">Shortness of breath (breathlessness)</span></li>
<li><span style="font-weight: 400;">Drenching night sweats</span></li>
<li><span style="font-weight: 400;">Infections that are persistent, recurrent or severe</span></li>
<li><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fever (38&deg;C or above) that is unexplained</span></li>
<li><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rash or itchy skin that is unexplained</span></li>
<li><span style="font-weight: 400;">Pain in your bones, joints or abdomen (stomach area)</span></li>
<li><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tiredness that doesn&rsquo;t improve with rest or sleep (fatigue)</span></li>
<li><span style="font-weight: 400;">Paleness (pallor)</span></li>
</ul>
<h3 style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Causes Of Blood Cancer:</strong></h3>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Dr Mohit Sharma said, "The cause of acute leukaemia is unknown, but there are some factors that put some people at higher risk." The factors stated by him are:</p>
<ul>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">Exposure to intense radiation</li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">Exposure to certain chemicals, such as benzene</li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">Viruses like the Human T-Cell leukaemia virus.</li>
</ul>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">"Most people diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia have an abnormal chromosome called the Philadelphia chromosome. It has also been linked to exposure to high levels of radiation," he added.</p>
<h3 style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Diagnosis Of leukaemia/Blood Cancers:</strong></h3>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">If your doctor suspects you may have a form of leukaemia, you will have one or more of the following tests to help diagnose, and determine the type of leukaemia:</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>1. Blood tests</strong></p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">An initial blood test will show if leukaemia cells are present in the blood or if the levels of blood cells are different to what would be expected in a healthy person.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>2. Bone marrow biopsy</strong></p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">A small amount of bone marrow is removed from the hip bone (pelvic bone) using a long needle. As the procedure can be uncomfortable and even painful, a local anaesthetic will be used to numb the area and you may be given some pain-killers. It is common for children to have a general anaesthetic.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>3. Chest x-ray</strong></p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">A chest x-ray is taken to check the heart and lungs, and to see whether there are enlarged lymph nodes in the chest.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>4. Lumbar puncture</strong></p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">This test shows if any leukaemia cells have travelled to the fluid around your spine.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Fluid is removed with a thin needle from a space between the bones in the lower back. This takes a few minutes, but as it can be uncomfortable, your doctor will use a local anaesthetic to numb the area.</p>
<h3 style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Treatment Of Blood Cancers:</strong></h3>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Giving an overview, Dr Mohit Sharma said, "Treatment depends on the type of blood cancer. Acute leukaemias develop quickly and need to be treated urgently."</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">He listed down the common treatment options which are:</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>For Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia:</strong></p>
<ul>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">chemotherapy, immunotherapy</li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">peripheral blood stem cell and bone marrow transplantation</li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">Radiation therapy to the head</li>
</ul>
<p style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>For Acute myeloid leukaemia:</strong></p>
<ul>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">chemotherapy</li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">peripheral blood stem cell and bone marrow transplantation</li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">radiation therapy to the head.</li>
</ul>
<p style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>For Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia:</strong></p>
<ul>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">active monitoring</li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">oral chemotherapy or targeted therapy</li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">chemotherapy (chemotherapy with stem cell transplant is being tested in clinical trials)</li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">removal of spleen, in certain circumstances</li>
</ul>
<p style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>For Chronic myeloid leukaemia:</strong></p>
<ul>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">tyrosine kinase inhibitory therapy</li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">chemotherapy</li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">biologic therapy</li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant</li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">donor lymphocyte infusion</li>
<li style="font-weight: 400;">surgery (removal of spleen), in certain circumstances</li>
</ul>
<h3 style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Preventing Blood Cancers:</strong></h3>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">There are no proven measures to prevent blood cancers. However, following are certain tips suggested by Dr Mohit Sharma that can help to reduce the risk of blood cancer:</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>1. Avoid Exposure to Carcinogens</strong></p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">One of the most important things is to avoid exposure to known carcinogens, such as tobacco smoke and radiation. Carcinogens are substances that can damage DNA and cause cells to become cancerous. If one can avoid these things, you can greatly reduce your risk of blood cancer.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>2. Healthy Diet</strong></p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">A healthy diet is important for many reasons and it may help reduce the risk of blood cancer. Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet and they may help to protect against cancer. These foods are high in antioxidants, which can help to protect cells from damage. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables every day may help reduce the risk of blood cancer and other chronic diseases.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>3. Regular Exercise</strong></p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Exercise helps to keep your body healthy and strong and it can also help to improve your immune system.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>4. Avoid Alcohol</strong></p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">There is no safe level of alcohol consumption when it comes to blood cancer risk. Even moderate drinking can increase your risk of developing certain types of blood cancer.</p>

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