Cancer like most other diseases has the best rates of recovery with early detection and intervention. As there are no regular health screenings for blood cancer, only the awareness about the early warning signs can save your life. September is designated as the Blood Cancer Awareness Month, to ensure every individual is equipped to fight against blood cancer right from the start. Here are 4 vital facts you must know to win your fight against blood cancer.
India has the third-highest number of reported blood cancer patients affecting over 70,000 of the population
Despite the advancements in knowledge of the nature and treatment of blood cancer, problems of blood cancer patients in India are specific to that of a developing country. The low number of registered patients combined with a lack of awareness and access to holistic healthcare results in a high mortality rate.
Lymphoma is more common than Leukemia or Myeloma
In India, 64% of the blood cancer patients present with lymphoma or abnormalities in the cells of the lymphatic system. 25% of the patients present with leukaemia or cancer of the lymphocytes while 11 % of the patients suffer from myeloma that affects the platelets. In the absence of regular health screenings for blood cancer, it is important to look out for the warning signs.
For patients below 25 years of age, common presentations are stomach and joint pain which can indicateLymphoblastic Leukaemia. Between 25-49, Acute Myeloid Leukaemia is more likely with symptoms like fatigue, bleeding, and repeated infections. Above 50, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemiais common with presentations like weight loss, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue.
Cancer has warning signs-look out for these
Cancer can give itself away through certain symptoms-
Risk of blood cancer increases with the consumption of tobacco and alcohol
It is predicted that a reduction in the sale of tobacco and alcohol can reduce the burden of blood cancer by up to 30%. Such substances weaken the immune system and can cause abnormalities in the DNA structure of cells resulting in a mutation. Alcohol is known to interfere with the production of new blood cells in the body. Other factors that increase the predisposition to blood cancer are family history, exposure to radiation common in the urban environment, and age.
Despite improvements in medical science and research, the fight against blood cancer it is an uphill task. It can be physically and psychologically challenging for patients without the right support system. The financial burden of treatment is another challenge altogether. However, with regular screenings and keeping an eye for the warning signs from the body, it is not an impossible mission.