Blood cancer is a kind of cancer affecting the blood cells, lymphatic system or bone marrow. It generally happens when things go wrong with the blood cell development.
The most common kinds of blood cancer are leukaemia, myeloma and lymphoma. It is caused by mutations in the blood cell DNAs, which results in the abnormal behaviour of the blood cells. In most cases, the mutations are associated with things that are out of control. It affects not only adults but also children. However, the signs and treatments can differ in adults and children.
The symptoms of blood cancer generally develop slowly over time. So, you might fail to notice them. Some people may not experience any symptoms at all. It is important to look out for these signs so that you can get timely blood cancer treatment. There are a few symptoms that are common in all kinds of blood cancer.
You may feel tired, breathless and pale due to anaemia. This is due to the low level of RBCs (Red Blood Cells). RBCs are responsible for carrying oxygen through the body. If you lack the right amount of RBCs, you could become anaemic.
Even if you sleep or rest, your tiredness doesn’t go away and you can feel breathless. The inside of your lower eyelid will look pale pink or white rather than red or dark pink when your lower eyelid is pulled down. This is nothing but paleness. You can also experience other anaemia symptoms such as headache and faintness.
You could suffer from fever or infections due to unexplained reasons. A low level of WBCs (White Blood Cells) that fight infection could cause this condition. You may experience severe, persistent or recurrent infections or fever. Infections can lead to flu-like symptoms such as shivering or chills, sore throat or cough.
If you lost a lot of weight unexpectedly or due to unexplained reasons, it could be another symptom. Let’s say, a weight loss of around ten pounds over a period of six to twelve months is regarded to be unexplained weight loss.
Frequent bleeding, bruising or rashes due to unexplained reasons are also symptoms of blood cancer. A low level of platelet count (that helps in blood clotting) causes these symptoms.
You may experience bleeding of gums or nose, prolonged bleeding from cuts, blood in your poop or urine or heavy periods. In rare cases, bleeding may happen into the brain, causing neurological symptoms.
Bruises indicate that there’s bleeding beneath the skin and often occurs following an injury. However, if they keep reappearing without any reason, it could be due to low platelet count. They appear to be different or darker than the skin around and may feel tender to the touch.
Rashes are a bunch of small bruises, which are seen as purpura (large discoloured patches) or petechiae (small spots) on the skin. They can be seen in purple colour or darker than the skin around on brown or black skin and in purple or red colour on lighter skin.
You may experience problems in the abdominal or stomach area due to a build-up of abnormal blood cells in the spleen. You may have swelling or bloating, occasional pain, discomfort under the left side of ribs or feel full after eating just a small amount of food.
You may have swelling or lumps in your groyne, armpit or neck due to the buildup of abnormal WBCs in the lymph glands. They are generally painless, though it may cause pain in some people. If there are swellings or lumps further inside the body, putting pressure on other organs like your lungs, it can cause discomfort, breathlessness or pain.
These are the common signs of blood cancer that you need to look out for. You could also experience other symptoms such as drenching night sweats, bone pain, itchy skin, appetite loss and feeling nauseated. Consult your doctor and discuss your symptoms. If required, go for the prescribed diagnostics tests. If the results turn out positive, get treatment at the earliest from the best cancer research center or cancer hospital.