Facts about Blood Cancer

Blood cancer is an umbrella term which covers all the cancers that affect the blood, bone marrow and lymphatic cells. Here are a few interesting facts about blood cancer.

  1. Blood cancer is the fourth most common cancer in India after head & neck cancer, GI cancer and breast cancer. It affects both adults and children of all ages. Leukemia, a type of blood cancer, is the 10th most frequently occurring type of cancer in all races or ethnicities.
  2. Survival rates for patients with blood cancer have improved drastically over the years with the advancement in the field of medicine. Acute leukemias are the most common diagnostic group of childhood cancer and the 5 years overall survival rates have reached as high as 90% in high income countries which reflects a remarkable progress in the treatment for blood cancer in India.
  3. Screening is quite effective in detecting certain types of cancers like mammogram for breast cancer or colonoscopy for colorectal cancer but unfortunately there is no screening or test that can indicate blood cancer in a patient at an early stage. However, researches and scientific advanced are being made to find one eventually.
  4. Blood cancer can be broadly divided into three types. One is known as leukemia in which the cancer affects the blood cells and the bone marrow of the patient. The body starts to make abnormal, under developed blood cells which ultimately compromises the body’s immune system. The second type of blood cancer is known as lymphoma where the cancer affects the lymphatic system of the body. And finally, the third type of blood cancer is known as myeloma where the cancer affects the plasma cells in the blood which are responsible for fighting off infections.
  5. Cancer cells in the blood can be destroyed by using radiation treatment where high intensity ionizing radiation to kill the cancerous cell or to keep it from growing. Radiation treatment is often given to the patient to kill the cancer cells before performing bone marrow transplantation to cure for blood cancer in India as well as other parts of the world.
  6. Stem cell transplantation or bone marrow transplant is another approach to treat blood cancer where the cancer infested bone marrow is treated and replaced with healthy bone marrow which will help the body to make healthy blood cells again.
  7. Cancer cells can also be managed and treated by using a combination of anticancer drugs known as chemotherapy designed to interfere and halt the growth of the cells. It is one of the most common and must treatment for blood cancer available to this day.
  8. Blood cancer often comes with the following warning signs or symptoms –
  1. Fever, chills
  2. Persistent fatigue, weakness
  3. Loss of appetite, nausea
  4. Unexplained weight loss
  5. Night sweats
  6. Bone/joint pain
  7. Abdominal discomfort
  8. Headaches
  9. Shortness of breath
  10. Frequent infections
  11. Itchy skin or skin rash
  12. Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarms, groin


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