Blood cancer refers to any number of different types of cancer that affect the blood. Our blood is made of many different types of blood cells, which are made in the bone marrow in the middle of our bones. There are three main types of blood cells, including red blood cells (which carry oxygen), platelets (which help blood to clot), and white blood cells (which fight infections).
When blood cancer occurs, normal blood cell development is affected by the uncontrolled growth of an abnormal kind of blood cell. These cancerous cells stop your blood from performing the functions it's supposed to do, like fighting infections or clotting your blood when cut.
There are 3 types of blood cancers:
Leukemia a type of cancer found in your blood and bone marrow is caused by the rapid production of abnormal white blood cells. The high number of abnormal white blood cells are not able to fight infection, and they impair the ability of the bone marrow to produce red blood cells and platelets.
- Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which removes excess fluids from your body and produces immune cells. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell that fight infection. Abnormal lymphocytes become lymphoma cells, which multiply and collect in your lymph nodes and other tissues. Over time, these cancerous cells impair your immune system.
- Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells. Plasma cells are white blood cells that produce disease- and infection-fighting antibodies in your body. Myeloma cells prevent the normal production of antibodies, leaving your body's immune system weakened and susceptible to infection.
Signs of Blood Cancer
Several kinds of cancer attack the cells that make up your blood. Their symptoms usually come on slowly, so you might not even notice them. And some people have no symptoms at all.
But there are a few things to look for with the most common kinds of blood cancer.
Blood cells are made inside your bone marrow, and that’s where leukemia starts. It causes your body to make white blood cells that grow out of control and live longer than they’re supposed to. And unlike normal white blood cells, they don’t help your body fight infection.
There are many different forms of leukemia. Some get worse quickly (acute). You’ll probably feel very sick very suddenly, like you’ve come down with the flu. Other forms can take years to cause symptoms (chronic). Your first clue may be abnormal results on a routine blood test.
Most signs of leukemia happen because the cancer cells keep your healthy blood cells from growing and working normally.
Anemia: This is when your body doesn’t make enough red blood cells, or the ones you have don’t do their jobs well. Signs of it include:
- Feeling tired and weak
- Shortness of breath
- Pale skin
- Chest pain
Poor clotting: Platelets are the cells that make your blood clot. When your body doesn’t make enough of them, small cuts may bleed more than usual, or you might have a bloody nose often. You may also have:
- Unusual bruising
- Bleeding gums
- Tiny red dots on your skin from broken blood vessels
- Heavy periods
- Bowel movements that are black or streaked with red.
The primary objective of blood cancer treatment is the complete eradication of cancer. Several therapies for blood cancer are:
- Biological therapy to kill cancers
- Bone Marrow Transplantation - This is typically a procedure to replace damaged or destroyed bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells. Max Healthcare’s stat-of-the-art HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filtered Bone Marrow Transplant unit offers stem cell transplantation for both benign and malignant conditions in children and adults.
- The Department of Haemato-oncology is committed to improve the outlook for patients with myeloma by developing novel therapeutic approaches based on a sound knowledge of the biology of the disease.
- A highly specialized team comprising of Haemato-oncologists & radiation oncologists provide state-of-the-art treatment for a variety of cancers like lymphomas, leukemia and multiple myelomas.