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Overview

Blood Cancer - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Blood cancer and it's types :

Blood cancer can be classified into three types such as myeloma, lymphoma and leukaemia. blood cancer is a medical disorder in which the cancer cells affect the lymphatic system, bone marrow and blood.

Leukaemia

This form of cancer affects the white blood cells in our body. The white blood cells are very important because they fight infection and make your immune system stronger. During leukaemia, you tend to produces abnormal white blood cells which block your bone marrow and prevent making other beneficial blood cells which are vital for healthy blood circulation and a balanced immune system. Acute leukaemia should be treated urgently or can develop with time.

Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a form of blood cancer which usually affects the lymphatic system. This system protects your body from disease and infection. This disorder makes your body make too many white blood cells and compromises your immune system. It can develop in your spleen, blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes. There are two types of lymphoma such as non-hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and Hodgkin lymphoma.

Myeloma

This disease is also known as multiple myeloma, it is a form of blood cancer which affects the plasma cells. These plasma cells are located inside your bone marrow and aids the body to fight infection.

What are the treatments available for blood cancer?

  • Chemotherapy- This form of therapy involves in taking drugs which damage the cancer cells. It slows down the development of the disease. During chemotherapy two or more drugs are combined so that the treatment works better together. Chemotherapy is designed in such a way that it attacks cells which are multiplying together. This therapy generally has immense side effects such as hair loss, fatigue and nausea. Usually during blood cancer cord blood transplant, bone marrow transplant and stem cell transplant is performed. So chemotherapy is needed in such cases to overpower the immune system. This is also known as conditioning therapy.
  • Radiotherapy- This therapy kills he cancer cells by using extremely high energy X-ray beams. During radiotherapy, the doctor gives the radiation on the right area of the body. they use a machine known as ‘linear accelerator’ for the radiation. Radiotherapy also treas lymphoma and leukemia. A low dosage of radiation can reduce someone’s immune system, this makes them less susceptible to reject the donor cells. Radiotherapy is also given before a stem cell transplant, in such cases it is called a total body radiation (TBI). Radiotherapy can sometimes have long term complications or side effects.
Treatable by medical professional Require medical diagnosis Lab test always required Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong Non communicable
Symptoms
Pain in the joints Dizziness, chills and fatigue Night sweats and fever Loss of apetite Blood in stool Nausea Skin rash

Popular Health Tips

Blood Cancer - 3 Most Common Types + Signs That Indicate It!

MBBS, MD-Radio Therapy
Oncologist, Ghaziabad
Blood Cancer - 3 Most Common Types + Signs That Indicate It!

Cancer occurs when there is an uncontrolled growth of cells in the body. Blood cancer affects three major components of the blood, namely white blood cells and marrow, the lymphocytes, and plasma. These are respectively known as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. The most commonly affected are the white blood cells.

Symptoms for each of these types differ; the same have been listed below:

Leukemia: Leukemia can be acute or chronic. In acute cases, the symptoms are more pronounced than the chronic ones. If the white blood cells are affected, then it causes the following:

  1. Shortness of breath
  2. Anemia
  3. Extreme tiredness and lack of energy
  4. Profuse sweating
  5. Increased susceptibility to infections
  6. Profuse bleeding during menstruation in women
  7. Swollen lymph nodes
  8. Headache and blurring of vision
  9. Bones and joint pain
  10. Chills and night sweats

The acronym TEST helps remember the symptoms of leukemia – tiredness, excessive sweating, sore joints, and terrible cases of bleeding. As white blood cells are involved in fighting infections, these individuals are also prone to easily develop infections.

Lymphoma: A type of white blood cells, lymphocytes help in fighting infections. Excessive growth of these leads to enlarged lymph nodes, which is often painless. However, other typical symptoms include:

  1. Severe coughing
  2. Swollen lymph nodes which are often generalized
  3. Severe weight loss, which is often unexplained
  4. Fever
  5. Sudden chills and night sweats
  6. Extreme/severe fatigue, even with minimal activity
  7. Abdominal fullness
  8. Itching of the skin (again unexplained)

Myeloma: This form of cancer affects the plasma, which are responsible for carrying the blood cells throughout the body. Multiple myeloma is the most common cancer in this group, and this is generally a chronic condition. Symptoms are atypical and include:

  1. Generalized weakness and fatigue
  2. Increased incidence of infections
  3. Shortness of breath
  4. Chest pain
  5. Pain in the back region
  6. Kidney issues, which can be indicative to look for myeloma

When a patient presents with a combination of the above symptoms, a detailed history is very helpful to come to a sort of conclusion. The clinical findings are then corroborated with blood screening and tests which will help pin down the diagnosis.

There are about 130+ varieties of blood cancer, but the above three are the most common ones. Once suspected, it is very easy to diagnose blood cancer with blood tests. If a person has a family history, then they should watch out for early symptoms of blood cancer, and should immediately seek medical attention when in doubt. The most common form of therapy is chemotherapy as it is a generalized condition, and radiotherapy is more suitable for localized cancers.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3599 people found this helpful

Early Warning Signs Of Cancer That We Often Ignore!

MBBS, MD(General Medicine), Fellowship Hemato - Oncology (Hemat-Oncology), DM(Medical Oncology), DNB(Medical Oncology)
Oncologist, Kolkata
Early Warning Signs Of Cancer That We Often Ignore!

Cancer has been regarded as one of the most deadly diseases. It is a non-communicable chronic disorder, caused by uncontrolled growth of cells in the human body. Every year over 7 million people succumb to this disease globally and over 12 million people are diagnosed with cancer. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), estimated that India will observe over 8 lakh deaths and over 17 lakh new cancer cases annually by the year 2020. The survival expectancy of a cancer patient depends upon the stage of diagnosis.

There are some forms of cancer which show any noticeable symptoms only in the final stage while there are certain other subtle symptoms which if paid attention to might save a life.
Some common signs of cancer:

  • Unexplained weight lossThis is one of the earliest noticeable symptoms of cancer and is particularly common in patients of lung and breast cancer. Weight loss has been observed in over 40% of cancer patients at the time of diagnosis. Losing over 10% of body weight in a span of 6 months or less could be a cause of concern.
  • Wheezing: This is associated with lung cancer, which is also the most common form of cancer. When the airway in the lungs is pressed or narrowed by a tumor, it creates a wheezing sound while breathing.
  • Frequent infections: Frequent infections and fever may indicate that something is not right with the internal organs of the body. This could be because of cancerous conditions such as leukemia or lymphoma
  • Loss of appetite: Cancer impacts the metabolic process of the body, hence often leads to a loss of appetite. This is particularly a symptom of colon, stomach, ovaries and pancreatic cancer. 
  • Blood in stool/urine: Traces of blood while passing stool or urine could be a symptom of cancer. Though, this could be attributed to many other infections and conditions as well.
  • Chronic cough: Flu and cough along with symptoms like chest pain, hoarseness, weight loss and fatigue could be because of lung cancer.
  • Night sweats: Though night sweat could be attributed to many more reasons, it is also one of the many early warning signs of cancer.

Cancer symptoms specific to men:

Cancer symptoms specific to women:

Early detection is the key to success in your fight against cancer. So,  if you witness any of the above symptoms get yourself diagnosed at the earliest. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

6026 people found this helpful

APML - Is Chemotherapy The Only Way Out?

MBBS, DM - Oncology, MD - General Medicine
Oncologist, Nashik
APML - Is Chemotherapy The Only Way Out?

There are more than hundred varieties of blood cancer, but the most common ones are leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a type of leukemia, is when the white blood cells in the marrow begin to grow uncontrollably. This is an acute condition and both the onset and progress are very rapid. The cause is not known, and given the rapid progress, even treatment is often difficult. A more severe form of AML is the APML which is acute promyelocytic leukemia, which leads to reduced number of white and red blood cells and plasma.

This causes the following symptoms:

  • Anemia
  • Increased incidence of infections
  • Excessive bleeding from even minor cuts
  • Bleeding from nose and gums
  • Easy bruising
  • Blood in the urine
  • Extreme paleness and tiredness

What is different about APML?

There is one distinguishing factor with APML, which is that they contain a protein which when released into the bloodstream can cause severe bleeding, which may be very difficult to control. Chemotherapy kills these cells and so releases the proteins into the bloodstream. These cells need to be managed without chemotherapy, as the patient can even die of uncontrolled bleeding. With medical advances, two non-chemotherapy agents have been identified – all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA, vesanoid, or tretinoin) and arsenic trioxide (ATO or trisenox).

  1. ATRA: This is a type of vitamin A which is used either alone, in combination with chemo, in combination with arsenic trioxide, and also in combination with both chemo and arsenic trioxide. The effect is different in different people – helps control spread, helps prevent recurrence, and helps control symptoms. In many people, it has been successfully used instead of chemotherapy. ATRA is also used as a long-term maintenance agent. Side effects from ATRA include fever, dry skin, rashes, mouth sores, increased cholesterol, and swollen feet. These go away with stoppage of the drug.
  2. ATO: Arsenic is poisonous when given in large amounts. However, it was discovered that it could be used to treat APML with effects similar to ATRA. It is used alone, in combination with chemotherapy, with ATRA, or with both. It helps control the growth of cells and also helps in long-term maintenance therapy. ATO dosage needs to be monitored as it can cause heart rhythm issues.

With both these drugs, there is a significant side effect, known as differentiation syndrome. Often seen during the first cycle of treatment, this happens when the leukemia cells release a protein into the blood. Symptoms include fever, breathing, kidney damage, and severe fluid buildup. With these two drugs being widely used effectively, chemotherapy is not the only treatment option for APML. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3305 people found this helpful

Suffering From Breast Cancer - Alternative Therapies That Can Help!

MBBS, MS - General Surgery, FBD (Fellowship in Breast Diseases), UICC Fellowship
Oncologist, Pune
Suffering From Breast Cancer - Alternative Therapies That Can Help!

Being diagnosed with cancer is a scary thought but with medical intervention, most breast cancer cases can be treated. The most common forms of treatment are radiation and chemotherapy. Along with this, there are many forms of alternative and complementary treatment that may be followed. This can help reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation and boost the immune system. Here are some things you can do as an alternative and complementary form of treatment.

  1. Have a special diet: Having a healthy, well-balanced diet is necessary for everyone. This becomes more important when a person is recovering from cancer. Foods that have a high level of saturated fats and salt should be avoided. Intake of smoked, highly processed and pickled foods should also be reduced. On the other hand, you should increase your intake of vegetables, fruits and other foods derived directly from plants.
  2. Get your antioxidants: Antioxidants can protect a person from the damage caused by free radicals. This aids in the treatment of breast cancer and speeds up the healing process. Some of the antioxidants that can be beneficial in treating breast cancer are vitamins A, C and E, Lycopene and Beta Carotene. This can be found in wild blueberries, pecans, dark chocolate, kidney beans and goji berries. You can also increase your antioxidant consumption with dietary supplements. However, consult your doctor before taking any antioxidant supplements as it can interact with other drugs.
  3. Massage therapy: Massages can help relax the mind. They also have a number of other benefits. They are known as immunity boosters and can ease fatigue and pain. Thus a massage can also reduce the need for pain medication. It also helps increase the concentration of white blood cells in cases where women are being treated for stage I and stage II breast cancer.
  4. Acupuncture: Acupuncture is an alternative form of treatment that is considered part of traditional Chinese medicine. This involves the placement of sterile, needles that are very thin into specific points on the skin. These are then gently moved to stimulate the nervous system. In some cases, herbal supplements may also be incorporated into the treatment. Acupuncture is believed to help relieve fatigue, control vomiting and hot flashes and reduce pain.

It is important to note that these forms of treatment should not replace medical treatment but should be carried out along with it. You must also ensure that your doctor is aware of any supplements of alternative forms of treatment that you may be taking along with the medical treatment.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2983 people found this helpful

Blood Cancer - 3 Most Common Types Of It!

MBBS, MD - Oncology, DNB - Super Speciality, Immuno Oncology
Oncologist, Delhi
Blood Cancer - 3 Most Common Types Of It!

Cancer is probably the most dreaded diseases of all. Blood cancer is a common type of cancer and affects not only the blood cells but can also affect other aspects of the body’s circulatory system such as the lymphatic system and the bone marrow as well.

There are three main types of blood cancer. These are:
Leukemia
This type of cancer originates in the blood cells and affects the circulatory system’s ability to produce red blood cells. It can also affect the bone marrow. Leukemia can also be categorized as acute or chronic. In cases of acute blood cancer, the patient may not exhibit any symptoms but in the case of chronic blood cancer, the symptoms may develop quite aggressively. These symptoms include:

  1. Fatigue and weakness
  2. Anemia
  3. Shortness of breath
  4. Unexplained weight loss
  5. Pain in the joints
  6. Skin rashes
  7. Frequent infections
  8. Fever
  9. Headaches
  10. Excessive sweating
  11. Swollen lymph nodes

Lymphoma
This type of cancer affects the lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cells that help the body fight infections. Lymphoma can be further categorized as Hodgkin Lymphoma or Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma with the former being characterized by the presence of B lymphocytes or the Reed-Sternberg cell.
Swollen lymph nodes are the primary symptoms of Lymphoma. This swelling is usually painless and may be accompanied by loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, night sweats and sudden cold bouts.

Myeloma
This type of cancer originates in the plasma cells. This is yet another type of white blood cells. Myeloma symptoms develop as the disease progresses. In its initial stages, there may be no visible symptoms. With time, patients will begin to notice tiredness, backaches, increased vulnerability to infections, shortness of breath, chest pain and kidney trouble.

Blood cancer treatment varies from person to person. The ideal treatment plan depends on a number of factors including the type of cancer, the stage it has been diagnosed at, the patient’s age and the speed at which the cancer is spreading.

Some of the most preferred forms of treatment for blood cancer are:

  1. Chemotherapy: This involves the use of drugs to restrict the growth of cancer cells in the body. This may often be combined with stem cell transplants.
  2. Stem cell transplantThis is a procedure that infuses healthy stem cells into the body. Stem cells have the ability to transform themselves into any type of cells and hence aid in producing new, healthy blood cells. Stem cells can be harvested from the patient’s bone marrow, blood or umbilical cord.
  3. Radiation: Radiation is used to kill cancerous cells and relieve pain. It may also be used along with stem cell transplants.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

4568 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

I am suman. Mere body par blue colour k nisan hota h and mit jate h.manw YouTube par check keya to usme tha ke aisa blood cancer me hota h. Can you tell me what’s the problem.

Oncologist, Delhi
You are having bleeding disorder, please check complete hemogram and coagulation profile. Take vitamin c till your final reports.
1 person found this helpful

Constantly reduce hb form 14. 8to14.6 in two months and 14. 6to 14 another two mounts and 14to 13.9 another two months why it occurs automatically it is a sign of blood cancer or hiv?

MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine, MRCP (UK), DM - Clinical Haematology
Hematologist, Kolkata
Relax. This variation is insignificant. Don't test so frequently. Repeat after 6 months. Till then if you are having any symptoms, get in touch with your doctor. Your hemoglobin is fine. So don't worry.
1 person found this helpful

My daughter suffering from leukemia (ALL) what be the recommended diet tips to avoid relapse or increase immunity. She is 7 years old now and completed her treatment currently in maintenance phase.

DM - Clinical Haematology, MD - Internal Medicine, DNB (General Medicine), MBBS
Hematologist, Kolkata
Dear lybrate-user, Unfortunately, till to date we have not been able to understand the mechanism of relapse with respect to the diet or immunity. Once therapy is over, as declared by the Hematologist, follow up at regular intervals is the best practice.
1 person found this helpful

My hemoglobin reduced automatically in 15-15 days and I suffering from throat problem like something stuck in my throat it is sign of blood cancer?

MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine, MRCP (UK), DM - Clinical Haematology
Hematologist, Kolkata
This is very unlikely to be cancer. However, may I suggest you go to an ENT specialist and get your throat checked. As for the low Hemoglobin, it will be worth seeing your full report to comment. You can share your reports over on an ​online consult and we may discuss further.

My hemoglobin reduced automatically in 15-15 days and I have suffering throat problem like something is stuck in my throat it is a sign of blood cancer or other disease?

M.ch - Surgical Oncologist
Oncologist, Mumbai
It may not be sign of blood cancer. If you are feeling something stuck in throat since long time then get a upper GI endoscopy done. Also get investigated for hemoglobin drop as it might be due to tumor bleeding sometimes so rule out possible causes of anaemia, bleeding.
1 person found this helpful

Table of Content

What is Blood cancer and it's types :

What are the treatments available for blood cancer?