Blood cancer treatment has made much progress thanks to advancements in biomedical technology. As one of the most frequently occurring types of cancer among all races and ethnicities, the fact that there are now appropriate treatments to counter blood cancer symptoms is hugely reassuring. Here are a few facts surrounding blood cancer that you should know about but probably don’t.
What are Blood Cancers?
Blood cancer, commonly known as haematologic cancer, develops within the bone marrow or lymphatic system. The process of cell generation is impaired in patients who have blood cancer. This induces an out-of-control proliferation of dysfunctional blood cells that trigger blood cancer symptoms. In addition, it depends on the patient’s immunity and ability to tackle infections.
There are three types of blood cancers.
- Leukemia – is a malignancy that targets the bone marrow. In this scenario, the body’s production of white blood cells becomes unregulated.
- Lymphoma – affects the lymphatic system. This leads to the body generating an abnormally high quantity of lymphocytes.
- Myeloma – compromises the immune system since the malignancy attacks the plasma cells.
8 Facts about Blood Cancers
- The tenth most common type of cancer.
In India, around one lakh patients are diagnosed with blood cancer annually. According to GLOBOCAN 2020 (a global observatory for cancer trends), approximately 20,000 new instances of childhood blood cancer are reported in India each year, with nearly 15,000 of them being leukemia.
According to statistics, blood cancer is the tenth most commonly occurring type of cancer across races and ethnicities. However, in India, patients who have already undergone bone marrow transplants as a treatment for blood cancer have a survival rate of more than 75%.
- Avoiding blood cancer.
A few lifestyle modifications can lower one’s risk of blood cancer. Smoking cigarettes or tobacco use in any form is a huge NO. There are no foods that can claim to treat or cure leukemia,
but some are proven to lower the risk.
Certain supplements, such as St John’s wort, can be taken by those undergoing treatment. There is, however, no certain way to prevent most childhood malignancies.
- Early blood cancer symptoms.
People from different age groups are more likely to develop certain types of blood cancer. For instance, people under the age of 24, for instance, are more likely to develop Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, while Myeloid leukemia is more prevalent in people under the age of 50.
Weight loss, fever, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes are some of the symptoms. Other symptoms include itchy skin/rashes, nausea, loss of appetite, and shortness of breath.
- More common in men.
Blood cancer symptoms are somewhat more common in men across age groups, though the cause for this is undetermined. In addition, many cancers are more frequent in males, whether adults or children; this fact is primarily unknown. According to a physician-researcher studying the genetics of leukemia and prospective treatments, males with certain types of leukemia generally have abnormalities in genes on the X chromosome. Unfortunately, there isn’t much further to go on, in this regard.
- The majority of children battling leukemia survive
Scientists have discovered that mutations in the DNA of normal bone marrow cells can lead them to expand out of control and turn into leukemia cells. The majority of children with Leukemia are undiagnosed and have no apparent risk factors for developing the disease.
Acute Lymphoblastic blood cancer, however, is more predominant among children, with patients under the age of 15 having a nearly 90% probability of survival for five years post-treatment.
- Foods that aid blood cancer recovery
Not only can a healthy diet and a strong immune system protect you from blood cancers, but they can also protect you from myriad other diseases.
In addition, blood cancer patients should consume fresh produce rich in vitamins and minerals.
They must consume low-fat foods and dairy products. Low-fat proteins such as lean meat, poultry, chickpeas, and lentils comprise a good diet for Leukemia patients.7. Children and adults are affected by different variations of Leukemia.
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of cancer in children and teenagers – responsible for almost three to four occurrences per person annually.
Acute Myelogenous Leukaemia (AML), on the other hand, is the most prevalent form of blood cancer in adults. TARGET researchers concluded that no single treatment strategy is likely effective for relatively rare pediatric AML patients.
- Blood cancer cells do not die naturally
Unlike normal blood cells, Leukemia cells do not die of old age or dysfunctionality, enabling them to multiply and force out healthy blood cells. Your body’s ability to circulate oxygen to tissues, control bleeding and fight infections, and become impaired by a deficit of healthy blood cells.
The lymph nodes, spleen, and brain are where leukemia cells may spread. Chemotherapy and radiation eliminate malignant cells and kill healthy cells, which is why side effects can be severe. Doctors can now administer certain drugs to help patients cope with the adverse effects of these treatments.
Leukemia is a complex hematologic disease with various diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. Therefore, healthcare experts from many specialties and disciplines – physicians, nurses, physical therapists, dieticians, etc.– must be involved to achieve effective treatment, minimize adverse events, and preserve their quality of life.
Successful patient outcomes require patient-centered communication and shared decision-making. Multiple blood malignancies are prevalent, and a hematologist must evaluate them for proper treatment recommendations.