What is Blood Cancer?
Blood cancer is another form of cancer that affects your blood. Anytime you heard of blood cancer or any blood infirmity, it should always pop at the back of your mind that; it is the abnormal or excessive production of a white blood cell. Why white blood cell and not red blood cell? Interesting question.
The white blood cells are the cells in the blood responsible for immunity, while the red blood cells carry oxygen. They protect and defend your body against diseases and invaders. There are different types of blood cancer, but they can share the same signs.
The Types of Blood Cancer:
Blood cancer has three main types, and they include leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.
This type of blood cancer is caused by the rise in the number of white blood cells in your body. The quantity of constituent in your blood must be maintained to keep you healthy, but the white blood cells out crowd the red blood cells and platelets. Leukemia patient can possibly develop anemia.
The white blood cells are classified into 3 categories: the granulocytes, the lymphocytes, and the monocytes. Leukemia is also assigned to 4 types based on how fast they develop and the cell type affected. They are acute lymphocytic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute myelocytic leukemia, and chronic myelocytic leukemia.
The causes of leukemia have not been ascertained to be this or that. Its risk factors can be smoking, exposure to certain chemicals or radiation, chemotherapy, genetic disorder (down syndrome), or family history. The prognosis of leukemia depends on your present age and your health status. The death rate of leukemia patients is higher in elderly adults than in younger adults.
Symptoms of Leukemia
Leukemia might not show you any symptoms in its early stage, that is why regular checkup is important, but anytime you start noticing any signs they might include:
Pain in your bones and your joints or loss of muscle control
Seizures and vomiting
Shortness of breath
Weight loss and loss of appetite
The kind of leukemia you have determines the sort of treatment you get, either acute or chronic.
Chemotherapy: generally, chemotherapy is a common type of treatment used for treating cancer. It involves the use of a chemical. Drugs that kill cancer cells would be administered into your body through the vein or muscle. It can also be added into the fluid around your spinal cord or taken as pills.
Surgery: this method is referred to as splenectomy. Your spleen would be removed. If it is affected and filled with cancer cells. Unlike other parts of the body, the spleen never regenerates, i.e., the spleen doesn’t grow back after it is removed. The spleen in your body fights infections and destroys bacteria because it contains special white blood cells.
Radiation: it is the use of high radiation energy to target and kills cancer cells. Though treating leukemia with radiation therapy have some side effects afterward; however, these side effects depend on how delicate the location affected is, e.g., the brain.
In addition, there are other treatments that you can use. These treatments include Antiviral medication; it can also be of help for blood or platelet transfusions.
This cancer starts infecting the cells of your immune system, the lymphocytes. It generates in the lymphatic system. Talking about the lymphatic system includes the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland, and bone marrow.
This type of blood cancer is also subdivided into five primary types: Cutaneous B-cell lymphoma, Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Signs and symptoms of lymphoma include fatigue, shortness of breath, itchy skin, fever, and weight loss.
Causes and Risk Factors of Lymphoma
Doctors have not come to a specific cause of lymphoma. It starts when your lymphocytes undergo genetic mutation. The mutation causes your cells to continue growing while other cells die. So many factors can lead to lymphoma, which are:
- Your age is one of the factors, and it is common in young adults.
- Gender: male develops lymphoma easier and quicker than the female does.
- An impaired immune system has greater chances of developing cancer, and some infections can increase the risk of developing lymphoma.
Treatment of Lymphoma
The type of lymphoma you have will determine the kind of treatment you get.
Radiation therapy: doctors use high powered wave energy to kill developing cancer. An example of these energies is X-ray and proton.
Chemotherapy: This treatment kills fast-growing cancer cells with the use of drugs. It can be administered in different forms, either liquid or pills.
Bone marrow transplantation: the bone marrow present in your body is responsible for producing blood cells. Chemotherapy is induced to reduce your bone marrow filled with cancer cells. Then, another bone marrow, either from your body or a donor, are infused into your blood and bone.
This type of blood cancer affects your plasma cell. If you have multiple myeloma, your plasma cell multiply and spread, killing other cells. They let protein into your blood and bone, causing adverse damage to your internal organs.
Causes and Risk Factors of Multiple Myeloma
The cause of myeloma has not yet been discovered, but it has many factors that contribute to the risk of having multiple myeloma. They are:
- Old age; people older than 65 years of age are at high risk of developing myeloma.
- Gender – male
- Black race
- Exposure to radiation and chemicals
Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma
- Bone and joint pain
- Abdominal pain and constipation
- Loss of appetite
Treatment of Multiple Myeloma
After the doctor has successfully diagnosed that you have myeloma, these treatments can be used.
Chemotherapy: doctors administer drugs in a mixture. The drug must be issued before a bone marrow transplant to avert any danger or complication.
Radiation therapy: high beam energy causes damage to myeloma cells and stops their growth. They tend to shrink the myeloma cells.
Targeted therapy: this treatment makes use of drugs to focus on a specific dysfunction around the cancer cell that enables its survival. This method of treatment kills cancer cells gradually.
In addition, the majority of the listed treatment for blood cancers is exhausting and stressful. You can still consult your doctor on an easing option to keep your mind active and keep your psychology state prepared. You can also refer to these options as alternative medicines. Easing options such as:
Being a cancer patient or getting diagnosed with cancer is never good news, and it would never be. The stress and doubt of cancer can drain you, but in between the period you are finding ways to cope with it, you can embark on these:
- Educate yourself about cancer from good sources; the type, causes, risk factors, the prognosis, and treatments. This exercise will provide you with the confidence to seek treatment and fight it.
- The shock may affect your emotions and mental health. So you can fix yourself with people that can give you support.
- Talk to someone about it; a burden shared is a burden solved. It could be a counselor, medical social workers, and some cancer support groups.
- Quit smoking.
- Always stay hydrated; dehydration can cause damages to your blood cells.
- Manage stress
- Weight management
- Keep a somewhat healthy diet and engage in physical exercise.
There’s this saying right from time “that prevention is better than cure.” It’s not until the news has been delivered to you that you have an infection or disease before you should start seeking treatment or cure. How you live your life determines what happens and comes your way.
A reckless living man should always expect whatever is coming his way. During your monthly visit to your doctor, you can ease him/her of the stress of interrogating you before getting to know what’s wrong with you.
What You Can Do to Be Of Help:
- Never miss an appointment with your doctor; that’s an important one at hand.
- If there are any unusual signs and symptoms that you are experiencing over time, you can write it out. That may help you to keep your checkup regular.
- Pen down the list of medications you are using, like your vitamins, antibiotics, and supplements.
- Write down any inquiry you may have for your doctor to aid your checkups.
You can increase your blood cell count, blood flow, and circulation by eating these sets of food. Poor blood circulation is a common blood problem that can be caused by different conditions.