Blood Cancer is one of the most catastrophic diseases around the globe. In India, it accounts for nearly eight percent of all the new cases of cancer that are diagnosed. And, of all the types of Blood Cancer, the three most common types that affect people here, irrevocably, are Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Multiple Myeloma.
Every Blood Cancer diagnosis turns lives topsy-turvy, and therefore, since 1949, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) observes September as the Blood Cancer Awareness Month – a focussed time to raise awareness about the disease and its cure.
So, today, let’s know all about it!
What is Blood Cancer?
Typically, it is a disease that signifies the malignancies of the blood, bone marrow, or lymph nodes that result in uncontrolled blood cell production and altered function. The Blood Cancer causes are not fully understood, though it is believed that it develops from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Smoking, radiation exposure, and exposure to chemicals such as benzene (a widely used industrial chemical) have all been linked to increased risk of some types of Blood Cancer. Epstein-Barr virus, HIV, and human T-cell lymphoma/leukemia virus infections are also risk factors for developing lymphomas and leukemias.
What are the types of Blood Cancer?
The three common types of Blood Cancer in India are:
- Lymphoma Cancer
It is Cancer that develops in the lymphatic system. Its two main types are:
- Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
It begins when the disease-fighting white blood cell, lymphocyte develops genetic mutation. It orders the cell to multiply rapidly causing many diseased lymphocytes to continuously multiply. And, it can be treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc. depending upon the type and stage of your disease.
- Leukemia Cancer
It develops mainly from the bone marrow when normal blood cells become malignant and grow uncomfortably. There are four main types of Leukemia Cancer:
- Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
- Acute Myelogenous Leukemia
- Chronic LymphcyticLuekemia
- Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
The Leukemia causes are:
- Genetic predisposition
- Down syndrome
- Human T-lymphotropic virus
- Exposure to petrochemicals
- Certain hair dyes, etc.
And, as Leukemia symptoms, one might suffer:
- Weakness and pale skin
- Easy bruising and bleeding – nose bleeds and bleeding gums
- Joint pain
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarm, groin, or stomach; enlarged spleen or liver
- Weight loss
- Shortness of breath, etc.
- Multiple Myeloma
Myeloma Cancer starts in the bone marrow when the plasma cells begin to grow uncontrollably. As they grow, they compromise the immune system and impair the production and function of white and red blood cells causing bone disease, organ damage, and anemia among other conditions. To cure this condition, doctors make use of Chemotherapy, Corticosteroids, targeted therapies, etc. as Multiple Myeloma treatment.
For a good portion of patients, cure with the therapeutic modalities may not be possible and the blood stem cell transplant may be the only option for them, as both malignant and non-malignant conditions can be treated via blood stem cell transplant.