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Blood Cancer: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Last Updated: Aug 05, 2021

Is Blood Cancer Curable?

There are two different types of blood cancers - Acute and Chronic. People who suffer from acute cancers can be cured with the help of proper treatment. If chronic blood cancer has been diagnosed, then it is unlikely for the treatment to be as effective as expected. However, the treatment will be able to control the progression of cancer or at least manage the symptoms.

For example, if a person is diagnosed with chronic leukemia might proceed with the stem cells transplantation to make sure there is a possibility for a cure. Hence, It is not something that cannot be cured but the chance completely depends on the stage of cancer and the strength of a person.

What are the First Signs of Blood Cancer?

For any disease, there are always going to be some symptoms in the beginning. The first signs of blood cancer are not as common as the symptoms for the rest of the diseases. Most people recognize it with painless lymph nodes, frequent infections, night sweats and shortness of breath.

There are also other symptoms that include coughing, chest pain, itchy skin or rashes, frequent weaknesses and fatigue, including fevers and chills. Nosebleeds and bloody cough are two major symptoms of any sort of cancer. Bone pain and tenderness might also occur as the first set of signs. These are the common signs of blood cancer however depending on the type of blood cancer, the symptoms may vary.

Can you feel cancer in your body?

Some symptoms that could be the early signs of cancer in the body are:

  • Fatigue
  • A lump or thick skin
  • Weight Loss
  • Fever

What is the main cause of blood cancer?

Regardless of the fact that the particular reason why blood cancer occurs in a person is still unknown, there are certain factors that are associated with its onset. Some common causes include aging, weak immune system, family history, and some infections. For every specific cancer, there is a pattern of the cancer formation occurs, though are not yet confirmed with the exact causes of blood cancer.

For example, leukemia is something that develops from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Leukemia occurs when certain blood cells acquires mutations in their DNA. This is more like the instructions present inside Every cell that will further guide its action.

In addition, there might be some other changes that might be contributing to leukemia, however, a proper understanding of this is yet to be understood. These abnormalities in cell promote the cell growth and divide quickly than normal and continue to do so until the normal cells die.

How long does blood cancer take to develop?

Acute leukaemia or blood cancer usually progresses quickly over days to a week while chronic leukaemia gets worse over months to years.

Can Blood Cancer kill you?

Blood cancer may cause death, the cause of death could be multiple infections caused by bacteria, virus, or fungus, multiple organ failure, and nutritional deficiencies. Apart from these, a patient may also face life-threatening complications in cancer treatment.

Can cancer kill you suddenly?

Cancer is life-threatening when it has invaded the vital organs of the body such as the brain, heart, lungs, or liver. The death due to cancer also depends on its diagnosis, treatment, stages, and the organ it has invaded.


What are the Preventive Measures in Blood Cancer?

As discussed earlier, the exact causes of blood cancers are unknown, however there are some common factors that contribute to this. According to some researchers and staying away from these can decrease the risk, too much exposure to radiations or chemicals must be completely avoided.

People who smoke or use tobacco are prone to cancers. There are certain Lifestyle behaviours including being lazy and ignoring the concept of diet that might improve the risk of developing various types of cancers and other diseases.

Though there are treatments for blood cancers including chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell treatment, it is only wise to stay away from these obvious which contributed to this risk. Considering the lifestyle behaviours, many researchers conclude that the survival rate of people who suffer from cancers might increase if there is a proper routine followed as suggested by their physician.

Though this cannot promise the elimination of blood cancer completely, leading a healthy life might help the immune system fight back the abnormality before it grows bigger and destructible.

What are the Types of Blood Cancer?


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 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.


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 Different Ways to Diagnose Blood Cancer?

There are several ways to diagnose blood cancer and the position will conduct the tests to classify the stage and type of cancer initially. As the initial step Staging will be done which is a process that helps the physician to understand how far cancer has spread and the intensity of the same.

The diagnosis and Staging happen all at the same time. After this, the blood test will be conducted and other tests including Diagnostic imaging tests, bone marrow exam, physical exam and surgical lymph node removal in case definition is not able to find the problem with the above-mentioned reports.

Staging will help the physician to understand the exact type of cancer including its location and severity and they are rather consistent for issues like cancer that is affecting specific organs are tissues. Every cancer has its specific Staging criteria and depending on the type, the physician will suggest further steps.

How to Treat Blood Cancer?

The treatment for blood cancer completely depends on the age factor, the progression of cancer, its intensity, its type and the organ or tissue it has affected. Some common treatment for blood cancer includes stem cell transplantation, chemotherapy, and Radiation therapy. In the stem cell transplantation, an infusion of healthy stem cell that is blood-forming is performed.

Chemotherapy involves several drugs in a set regimen and it might be given before the stem cell transplantation. Radiation therapy is used to completely eliminate the cancer cells auto help the person with their pain or discomfort. This might also happen before the stem cell transplantation process.

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.

What are the Natural Blood Cancer Treatments That Work?

Other natural cancer treatments include living a Healthy lifestyle and following the proper diet. According to the suggestions made by the nutritionist after examining the health condition of a patient, a certain diet can be followed. Some common diet forms include juice diet, raw food diet, acid-free diet and so on. Some experts believe that blueberries and garlic included in the diet will help the immune system in fighting against cancer.

However, the evidence that this dietary treatment effectively e working against cancer has not been shown. With a common suggestion that states the healthy lifestyle will strengthen the immune system and fight the disease-causing abnormality is within the body.

Can a Person Survive Blood Cancer?

The survival rate for a person completely depends on the intensity and type of blood cancer and the strength of the particular patient and other simple factors like age and the presence of other diseases. Usually, there is a 5-year survival rate for all the people who suffer from subtypes of leukemia which sums up to 61.4%.

What food causes blood cancer?

Some cancer-causing foods are:

  • Processed meat
  • Red meat
  • Salted fish
  • Alcohol


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Content Details
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Written ByDr. Jagdish Shinde MD - Radiothrapy,MBBSOncology
Reviewed By
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Reviewed ByDr. Bhupindera Jaswant SinghMD - Consultant PhysicianGeneral Physician
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