Blood Cancer is essentially a set of malignancies that wrecks havoc with the patient’s health and wellbeing, often leading to fatality. However, the good news is that blood cancer treatment is readily available and evolving rapidly. As the treatment methods are coming of age, the remission and survival rates are showing an upward curve. In the recent medical breakthroughs, researchers have identified specific gene mutations that can be targeted for safe and efficient recovery, provided the treatment is undertaken in the initial phase.
Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute, a premier cancer hospital in Delhi, India, has a proven record when it comes to providing blood cancer treatment and personalised care. From conventional modes like chemo and radiotherapy to stem cells and bone marrow transplantations, we specialise in it all. Going a step ahead, we have taken the prerogative to promote awareness about cancer among masses. After all, awareness is the first line of defence against diseases. Accordingly, we have put up a concise guide to blood cancer, covering all its key aspects, such as causes, types, symptoms and signs, and stages. So, read on and stay informed.
A blood cancer patient experiences an anomaly in the reproduction of red blood cells or cells of the bone marrow or the lymphatic system. This leads to the build-up of cancerous cells in the bone marrow – the site of cell formation. So, we can categorise the medical condition into three categories namely – Lymphoma, Leukaemia and Multiple Myeloma.
In a typical case of Leukaemia, the body is incapable of creating Red Blood Cells, which are responsible for transporting Oxygen within the body. Lymphoma occurs when cancerous cells impact the White Blood Cells that deter attacks from pathogens, while Multiple myeloma has much to do with the plasma.
The cause of blood cancer is still shrouded in mystery. However, there are certain risk factors that can cause malignancies, such as prolonged exposure to radiations and Carcinogenic chemicals, HIV infection, genetic disorders, and smoking. Patients who have undergone Chemotherapies in the past are also likely candidates for this dreaded medical condition.
As the malignant blood cells achieve a steady growth rate, signs of blood cancer become visible, which may include heavy breathlessness, changes in skin colour, fine rashes and itching, along with swollen stomach, and continuous discomfort in the abdominal area. The patient may also experience consistent pain in the bones, ribs, back and joints, in addition to excessive bleeding from gums and cuts, and drastic weight loss.
Too much blood flows during menstruation and pain in urination tracts are also indicators of blood cancer in women. The other prominent signs include frequent infections, abnormal swelling of lymph glands, constant headache and visibility issues, and unexpected bouts of chill. When any of these signs surface, the individual should seek medical help at the earnest, as delays may aggravate the issue and lead to complications in the blood cancer treatment.
Blood cancer is divided into four stages depending on the spread and impact of the medical condition.
Stage 1: In the first stage, the lymph nodes gain size due to the sudden rise in the number of lymphocytes. As the disease is yet to spread to other parts of the body, the risk factor is low.
Stage 2: In this stage, the lymph nodes, spleen and liver show an excessive inflation in size. The stage is also characterised by an uncontrolled growth of lymphocytes.
Stage 3: Herein, the cancer is spread to at least two of the organs involved – lymph nodes, spleen and liver – and the risk factor surges higher.
Stage 4: The production of blood platelets dwindles rapidly, cancer spreads to other organs, including lungs, and anaemia becomes acute. The risk factor reaches criticality at this stage.