- What is Blood?
- What is Blood Cancer?
- Types of Blood Cancer
- Symptoms of Blood Cancer
- Treatment of Blood Cancer
According to the studies conducted by Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, every 3 minutes, a new person in the United States gets diagnosed with blood cancer. More than 58,000 Americans die due to blood cancers every single year.
These facts are shocking, but they always motivate researchers for more research and doctors for extra work.
To know further about blood cancers, first, we will take a look at what actually blood is and what functions it does in our body.
Table of Contents
What is blood ?
Blood is a fluid connective tissue which performs functions like:
- It circulates respiratory gases throughout te body.
- It carries out waste products from cells.
To perform all these operations blood has four main parts :
- Red Blood Cells
- White Blood Cells
Out of these red blood cells carry oxygen to the lungs and other tissues. White blood cells protect against infections while platelets clot the blood during injuries.
What is blood cancer?
Bone marrow is a place where blood production happens. Blood cancer or hematologic malignancy occurs when abnormal cells grow out of control and affect the functioning of healthy blood cells. As a retaliation to this enormous growth, our body produces new blood cells, which ultimately leads to cancer.
These abnormal cells disturb regular functions of blood and weaken our immune system. So, in short, blood cancers are triggered by the overproduction of abnormal cells.
As discussed earlier, blood cancers mainly affect blood cells and bone marrow. On that basis, blood cancers have three types:
1 . Leukemia :
Leukemia begins in the bone marrow cell, where blood production happens. These Leukemia cells so produced have better survival rates than the healthy cells. These cells suppress the functions of healthy cells. A body that is affected with Leukemia makes more white blood cells which are inefficient to fight with infections.
Leukemia has four types based on which type of white blood cell it affects, and it’s the growth rate. They are as follows:
- Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
- Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML)
2 . Lymphoma :
Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which is a part of the immune system of our body. According to Cancer Care Connect, more than half of the blood cancers that get diagnosed each year are Lymphomas.
Lymphomas are further divided into two categories:
- Hodgkin Lymphoma (HL)
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL)
Again, Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) is further divided into four subcategories :
- Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL)
- Follicular Lymphoma (FL)
- Marginal Zone Lymphoma (MZL)
- Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL)
3 . Multiple Myeloma :
Multiple Myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells which are a type of white blood cells. A suitable plasma cell produces proteins called antibodies that help our body to resist against certain infections that are detrimental to our health.
Malignant cells create different tumors in multiple places as well as sections of the body so, it has got the name, multiple myeloma.
Symptoms of blood cancer :
- Red spots on skin
- Pain in bones
- Difficulty in breathing
- Easy bleeding during cuts
- Night Sweat
- Loss of weight, appetite
In case of women some extra symptoms can be noticed as follows:
- Swallowing problems
- Swollen breasts
- Nipple changes
- Pelvic pain
- Stomach ache
Treatment of Blood Cancer :
Based on factors like the type of cancer, age of the victim, and rate of cancer growth, different treatments that are available in the market.
First of all, we will have a look at traditional methods which are in trend then we will have a look over some advanced treatments:
1. Stem Cell Transplantation :
Stem cell transplantation is also called bone marrow transplantation. As discussed earlier, bone marrow, which is a part of the bone, produces blood cells. Some types of blood cancers begin their journey at the bone marrow only.
There are two types of Stem Cell Transplantation available in the market as follows:
- Umbilical Cord Blood Transplant
- Parent-Child Transplant
2 . Chemotherapy :
According to what type of cancer you have, you can get chemotherapy through the mouth or injection. It is a periodic administration of cancer drugs for several months.
Chemotherapy treatments differ from age to age as the adults have less tolerance towards therapy, while the younger ones can easily tolerate the treatment.
3. Radiation Therapy :
Radiation therapy is also known as radiotherapy. In this technique, radiations kill the genetic material within cells, which prevents them from growing and reproducing.
Most of the time, radiation therapy is combined with chemotherapy to get better results.
Proceeding towards advanced treatment options we have:
Targeted Treatment for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) :
It made the first introduction in the year 2001, with the revolutionary medicine Imatinib [ Gleevec ], which attacks the specific cell mechanism, which is crucial for the development of cancer cell growth.
Most of the people who got inspections during the clinical trials are in the phase of remissions, which simply means that there is no sign of cancer in their bodies.