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

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Dinesh Singh 88% (73 ratings)
MBBS, MD-Radio Therapy
Oncologist, Ghaziabad  •  34 years experience
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!

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