Blood Cancer – Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Cancer is a disease in which cells become more and more abnormal, old or damaged cells survive when they should die, and new cells form when they are not even needed. These extra cells can divide without stopping and may form growths called tumors. Blood cancer is a type of cancer that affects blood cells. Most blood cancers, also known as hematologic cancers, start in the bone marrow, where blood is produced.

Healthy blood cells include balance of different cell types.

Types of Blood Cancer

There are different types of Blood cancer, including:
It is a type of blood cancer that originates in the blood and bone marrow. It occurs due to overproduction of abnormal white blood cells in the bone marrow which in turn interferes with the bone marrow’s ability to make red blood cells and platelets.

It is a type of blood cancer that affects white blood cells called lymphocytes, which play an important role in your immune system. It occurs due to over-multiplication of abnormal white blood cells (lymphocytes) which in turn affects lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system.

It is a type of cancer, related to plasma cells, which produce antibodies that fight diseases and infections. It occurs due to abnormal production of plasma cells, or myeloma cells, build up in the bone marrow and form tumors ,called plasmacytomas — may prevent the bone marrow from making enough healthy blood cells. Due to myeloma, your body finds it hard to fight off infections.

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS):
MDS is a type of cancer where the bone marrow doesn’t work properly and produces faulty blood cells. It occurs when some blood stem cells in the bone marrow fail to mature into healthy blood cells. These immature cells don’t work properly, and they take up space in the bone marrow or the blood. This condition leaves less space for the growth of healthy blood cells.

Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN):
MPN is a type of disorder in which there is overproduction of a particular type of blood cell. It causes due to abnormal production of blood cells (platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells) in the bone marrow. Myeloproliferative neoplasms are a group of rare conditions that affect the blood.

Signs & Symptoms of Blood Cancer

Some people may not have any symptoms until the disease is advanced. Not everyone will have the same symptoms.
Some common blood cancer symptoms include:

  • Coughing or chest pain
  • Fever or chills
  • Frequent infections
  • Unexplained rash or itchy skin
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained bruising or bleeding
  • Loss of appetite or nausea
  • Drenching night sweats
  • Persistent weakness and fatigue
  • Breathlessness
  • Swollen, painless lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin

Diagnosis of Blood Cancer

Test is conducted to classify the type and stage of your blood cancer. Staging is a process that tells the spread and severity of the cancer.
Tests and procedures to diagnose blood cancers may include:

  • Diagnostic imaging tests — CT scan, PET scan, and x-ray
  • Physical exam
  • Lymph node biopsy (for examination)
  • Blood tests
  • Bone marrow biopsy

Treatment of Blood Cancer

Treatment for blood cancer depends on:

  • The type of cancer,
  • Patient’s age,
  • How fast the cancer is progressing,
  • Where the cancer has spread and other factors.
  • Some common blood cancer treatments include:

Some common blood cancer treatments include:

Stem cell transplantation:
A blood stem cell transplant is a procedure in which a patient’s infected blood-forming stem cells are replaced with healthy blood-forming stem cells that may be collected from a donor’s bone marrow, circulating blood and umbilical cord blood.. These stem cells grow into all types of blood cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells (or immune cells), and platelets.
Chemotherapy is a type of procedure in which anticancer drugs are used to interfere with and stop the growth of cancer cells in the body. Doctors use this treatment to both treat cancer and relieve cancer symptoms, such as shrinking tumors that cause pain. Chemotherapy for blood cancer sometimes involves giving many drugs together in a set regimen. This treatment may also be given before a stem cell transplant.
Radiation therapy:
Radiation therapy is a kind of treatment that may be used to destroy cancer cells or to relieve pain or discomfort.
Radiation therapy for cancer patient.
Immunotherapy also known as biotherapy — deals with the body’s immune system to help fight diseases such as blood cancer. It has ability to work directly with patient’s immune system to stop or slow the growth of cancer cells.