Blood cancer is a complex condition that affects the blood cells and the bone marrow, which is the source of blood cells. Originating in the bone marrow, the affected blood cells grow uncontrolled and are unable to perform the normal functions including combating diseases. This destroys the immune system of the body that can ultimately prove fatal. Since not many people know much about this form of cancer, the Blood Cancer Awareness Month is organized every year in September by Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to spread the required awareness.
Here are the major types of blood cancer-
Found in the blood and bone marrow this results in the rapid production of white blood cells with abnormal attributes. The body loses its ability to fight infection due to the abnormal white blood cells and the bone marrow is not able to supply the body with red blood cells and platelets.
The main types of leukaemia are
Acute lymphocytic leukaemia affects lymphocytes in the bone marrow and advances rapidly. It is the most commonly affects children between 3 and 5 and adults over age 75 years with a family history of genetic disorders.
Acute myeloid leukaemia affects the myeloid cells first and spread throughout the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. It is more common in men over age 65. Habits like smoking or blood disorders like myelodysplasia or polycythemia increase the chances of this.
Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia starts in the bone marrow with lymphocytes. Although it has a slow growth, most people remain asymptomatic until it is already too late. It is more common in ages above 70.
Chronic myeloid leukaemia begins in myeloid cells and grows slowly. It is an aftereffect of exposure to large amounts of radiation.
This affects the lymphatic system responsible for the production of immune cells called lymphocytes and the removal of excess fluids from the body. The lymphocytes produced multiply unchecked in the lymph nodes and tissues but are unable to battle infections.
The two types of lymphoma are-
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma: cancer originates from the lymphocytes in the lymphatic system and deteriorates the capabilities of the body to fight infections.
Hodgkin lymphoma: a blood cancer that originates in the B cells or T cell of the lymphatic system and is characterized by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cell. It is more common than the Non-Hodgkin variety.
Lymphomas are more common for people with weak immune systems and between the ages of 15 to 35 and more than 50 years.
This type of blood cancer affects the plasma cells responsible for the production of antibodies essential to fight diseases and infections. The weakened immune system makes even the slightest infections fatal for the patient.
Myeloma is characterized by rapid growth that kills off the healthy blood cells that attempt to supply antibodies and always occurs in more than one place. This condition is known as multiple myeloma and is common for men over 50 years, who are obese or have a family history.
India ranks third after the United States and China in the number of registered blood cancer patients. As with all forms of cancer, early detection is key to the effectiveness of treatment and chances of survival. Therefore, the knowledge of the various types of blood cancer equips you to detect the warning signs that could potentially save your life.