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Signs And Symptoms of Blood Cancer

Blood cancer can be hard to identify in the beginning stage. There may not be any sign or symptom until cancer reach an advanced age. At other times, Cancer symptoms may be mistaken for other diseases such as the flu. Leukaemia, Multiple Myeloma, and Lymphoma are three different forms of blood cancer. These conditions may have unique symptoms, but they share among themselves certain common symptoms as well. These include:

  • Frequently occurring infections
  • Fatigue
  • Itchy skin
  • Fast and unexplained loss of weight
  • Frequent and easy bruising
  • A swelling or lump in the stomach, groin, or neck region
  • Pain in the joint/bone
  • Night Sweats
  • Leukaemia symptoms

Leukaemia is a blood cancer that starts within the bone marrow where the blood cells are made. Some forms of the Leukaemia presents very acutely so that it gets worse quickly. The patient may suffer from infections easily and may become sick all of a sudden. The chronic form of the disease takes years to manifest itself and hence there are no symptoms for a long period. An indicated blood test may reveal the abnormal blood counts.

When the body fails to make enough of Red Blood Cells (RBCs), or makes defective RBCs that cannot function normally, symptoms of anaemia occur. These include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pale skin
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Blood cancer may also affect the platelets are necessary for clotting of blood. Symptoms of this condition include:

  • Increased bleedings tendencies
  • The occurrence of tiny and red dots on the skin
  • Bleeding of the gum
  • Unusual/abnormal bruising
  • Stools that are red or black in colour
  • Heavy menstrual periods
  • Lymphoma symptoms

Cancer also affects the Lymphocytes or the white blood cells so that they grow abnormally and do not function well. The body fails to fight the infections. A swelling in the lymph node is a common symptom of lymphoma and the lump may occur in the groin, armpit, or neck region. The swollen lymph nodes may also press against other organs and cause symptoms and conditions such as chest/joint/bone pain, breath shortness, and coughing. Enlargement of the spleen may result in bloatedness.

Other symptoms of Lymphoma

  • Night Sweats
  • Fever
  • Skin itchiness
  • Unexplained/unexpected weight loss
  • Multiple Myeloma symptoms

This cancer affects the plasma cells, which fights infections. It is manifested by an abnormal increase in the plasma cell count in the bone marrow. The cells may also secrete certain proteions that harm other organs of the body. The common symptoms associated with this condition include:

  • Pain in the bones
  • Hypercalcemia or an increase in the calcium concentration in blood, and symptoms associated with the condition including weakness, appetite loss, and constipation among others.
  • Proteins may damage the nerves and may cause pain, weakness, and numbness in the legs and arms.


Causes of Blood Cancer

There are different types of blood cancer and they may have its own set of unique causes. But all forms of blood cancer have certain causes and risk factors common. These are listed below.


Certain leukemias like Acute Myeloid Leukemia(AML) are more common in elderly whereas Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia(ALL) are more frequent in children like wise myeloma is a disease of adults.


Radiation can cause blood cancer. People who have to get radiation therapy for the treatment of some other kind of cancer are more prone to be affected by blood cancer especially AML. The greater the amount of radiation a person is exposed to, the more the likelihood of blood cancer. Apart from the treatment, imaging tests including X-rays and CT scan, and radioactive rays at the workplace may be a source of radiation that can cause blood cancer.


Chemotherapy drugs including platinum agents, alkylating agents, and the topoisomerase 2 inhibitors increase the likelihood of blood cancer.

Family history

Having a sibling or a family member affected with blood cancer may also make a person more vulnerable to the condition.


Exposure to a number of chemicals can be a cause of blood cancer. For example : Benzene, found in the cigarette and chemicals used in gasoline/oil/chemical industries, detergents, cleaning agents, glue, paint stripper, and art supplies can be a cause of blood cancer.


Genetic composition and inheritance of syndromes may be a cause of blood cancer. Some of these conditions include Down syndrome, Swachman-Diamond syndrome, Congenital Neutropenia, Bloom syndrome, and other conditions.

Diseases and Infection

Infection with Human Immunodeficiency virus and autoimmune diseases are the risk factors and causes for lymphoma.

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