Know the basics
What is blood cancer?
Blood cancer, also known as hermatologic cancers, is the cancer that affect the production and function of blood cells. Most of blood cancers start in bone marrow where blood is produced. The cancerous cells prevent normal blood cells to perform their functions.
There are 3 common types of blood cancers:
- Leukemia: it is a white blood cells cancer, which stop them from fighting with infection. When a person has leukemia, his or her bone marrow is unable to produce enough red blood cells and platelets to supply the body’s need. Leukemia can be either acute or chronic; chronic leukemia is much more dangerous and hard to be treated. It is the most common type of blood cancers.
- Lymphoma: develop in lymphocytes – a type of white blood cells that fight infection. Abnormal lymphocytes can impair your immune system. This reduces your resistance to outer harmful factors.
- Myeloma: is a cancer of the plasma cells. Myeloma cancers prevent normal antibodies from being produced, which result in the weakness and susceptibility to infection of your body’s immune system.
How common is blood cancer?
Blood cancer can affect patients at any age. However, they can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
Know the symptoms
What are the symptoms of blood cancer?
Some common symptoms below will show that you may have blood cancer. So please check yourself carefully.
- Fever, chills;
- Fatigue and weakness;
- Loss of appetite, nausea;
- Quick and severe weight loss;
- Unexplained sweats;
- Pain in joint and bones;
- Abdominal discomfort;
- Shortness of breath;
- Frequent infections;
- Itchy skin or skin rash;
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarms, groin;
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above, especially if your parents or siblings have blood cancer, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
Know the causes
What causes blood cancer?
Blood cancer is caused by the uncontrollable growth of blood cells. Normal cells in the body follow an orderly path of growth, division, and death; but blood cancerous cells do not. They do not die automatically. More seriously, these abnormal cells can spread into other areas, compress the normal blood cells and prevent them from performing their functions.
Blood cancers are genetic tendency. They are also caused by outside factors such as exposure to radiation, exposure to harmful chemicals, and infection to Human T-cell Leukaemia virus.
Know the risk factors
What increases my risk for blood cancer?
Depending on the different types of blood cancers, the risk factors also vary in each one. Understanding the risk factors can help you find the best solution to prevent them from developing.
Risk factors of Leukemia include:
- Long-lasting radiation exposure;
- Repeated chemicals exposure;
- Down Syndrome;
- Family history;
And risk factors of Lymphoma include:
- Older age;
- Having an autoimmune disease;
- Diet high in meats and fat;
- Being exposed to certain pesticides;
Finally, there are the risk factors of Myeloma:
- Over the age of 50;
- Radiation exposure;
- Work in petroleum-related situations;
Understand the diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is blood cancer diagnosed?
If you are suspected to have blood cancer, your doctor may recommend you some cancer blood tests or other laboratory tests. These tests are usually used to detect cancers in other parts of your body, but cannot absolutely tell whether you have cancers in the blood. They only can show the clues of blood cancer. If they detect an unusually large number of white blood cells, it suggests the possibility of blood cancer.
Common cancer blood tests are:
- Complete blood count (CBC);
- Blood protein testing;
- Tumor marker tests;
- Circulating tumor cell tests;
How is blood cancer treated?
Treatment for blood cancer depends on the type of cancer, your age, how fast the cancer is progressing, where the cancer has spread and other factors. Some common blood cancer treatments include:
- Stem cell transplantation a stem cell transplant infuses healthy blood-forming stem cells into the body. Stem cells can be collected from the bone marrow, circulating (peripheral) blood and umbilical cord blood.
- Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs designed to interfere and halt the growth of cancer cells in the body. Chemotherapy for blood cancer sometimes consists of giving several drugs together in a set regimen. It may also be given before a stem cell transplant.
- Radiation therapy may be used to destroy cancer cells or to relieve pain or discomfort. It may also be given before a stem cell transplant.
Lifestyle changes & Home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage blood cancer?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with blood cancer:
- Exercise regularly;
- Follow a disciplined, healthy lifestyle;
- Keep away from herbicides and insecticides;
- Avoid exposure to radiation;
- Eat healthy food and drink plenty of water;
- Avoid self-medication and seek medical attention for any health related issues;
- Discuss even vague symptoms related to blood cancer, if experienced.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Blood Cancers. http://www.hematology.org/Patients/Cancers/. Accessed July 22, 2016.
Leukemia. http://www.hematology.org/Patients/Cancers/Leukemia.aspx. Accessed July 22, 2016.
Lymphoma. http://www.hematology.org/Patients/Cancers/Lymphoma.aspx. Accessed July 22, 2016.
Myeloma. http://www.hematology.org/Patients/Cancers/Myeloma.aspx. Accessed July 22, 2016.
Blood cancers. http://www.cancercenter.com/terms/blood-cancers/. Accessed July 22, 2016.
Overview of Blood Cancer. http://www.internationaldrugmart.com/health-articles/blood-cancer-overview.shtml. Accessed July 22, 2016.
Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017