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Getting familiar with the most common types of Blood Cancer
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Getting familiar with the most common types of Blood Cancer


Every year, 1.24 million people are diagnosed with blood cancer across the globe. The malignancy accounts for 6 per cent of all cancers. If we talk about India alone, blood cancer happens to be one of the leading causes of life risk, with more than a million cases being diagnosed every year. Blood cancer, as the name suggests, affects different components of the blood, based on which, it is broadly classified into 3 major types - leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. In this blog, we have elaborated on various types of blood cancers, with the help of best oncologist in Gurugram.

What is Blood Cancer?

Blood cancer is an umbrella term used for various malignancies that affect the blood cells and the bone marrow. It is a result of certain abnormal changes in the DNA of these cells, which lead to their uncontrolled multiplication. As per the experts specialising in blood cancer treatment in Gurugram-, the cancerous cells, so formed, do not serve any function. Normal blood cells tend to have a lifespan of about 110 to 120 days. However, the cancerous cells continue to grow and multiply forever. These do not have a definite lifespan. The cells continue to pile up and overcrowd the healthy cells.

Our blood has three different types of components - Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells and Platelets - each serving an important purpose that is crucial for our existence.

  • The red blood cells serve as a medium for carrying oxygen to different parts of the body as well as carrying carbon dioxide back to the lungs. The red blood cells make up almost half of the blood.
  • White blood cells play a vital role in our immune system as they help our body to fight infections. White blood cells also help to clear damaged cells from our blood.
  • The platelets are essential for clotting. Whenever we sustain an internal or external injury, the platelets rush to the site and clump together, leading to the formation of a clot.


Getting familiar with the different types:


Leukaemia

It is a type of blood cancer marked by the uncontrolled growth of white blood cells in the body, that outnumber all the other cells, thereby disrupting their function as well. It happens to be the most commonly diagnosed form of blood cancer and has been classified into two types based on the onset, i.e. Acute Leukaemia and Chronic Leukaemia. They can affect people of any age group, even small children, but are most commonly found in elderly people. Men, generally tend to be at a higher risk of developing the malignancy. Some of the common symptoms that have been linked with leukaemia include :

  • Fever and chills
  • Increased vulnerability to infections
  • Fatigue and general body weakness
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Unexplained and recurrent nose bleeds
  • Development of red spots on the skin
  • Swelling in the lymph nodes
  • Enlargement of spleen and liver


Lymphoma

It is a type of blood cancer that involves the lymphatic system. This involves the spleen, lymph nodes, thymus gland and bone marrow. All these are involved in the production, storage and circulation of white blood cells for fighting infections. Lymphoma is broadly classified into two main types:

Hodgkin's lymphoma - It originates from the B lymphocytes, which help to fight germs. It is quite aggressive and most likely to be diagnosed in teens and young adults.

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - It originates from the lymph nodes or lymph tissues found in different organs of the body. It is most commonly diagnosed in people above 60 years of age. Common symptoms associated with lymphoma include:

  • Swelling in the lymph nodes found in the neck, groin or armpits.
  • Pain and swelling in the abdomen
  • Unexplained pain in the chest
  • Persistent coughing and breathlessness
  • Fatigue, weakness and fever
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Cold sweats


Myeloma

Also referred to as multiple myeloma, it is a type of blood cancer that originates from the plasma cells, found within the bone marrow. These are a type of white blood cells that help to produce antibodies for fighting diseases and infections. Myeloma spreads via the bone marrow and results in the formation of abnormal proteins that can lead to serious health complications. Cancer usually progresses at a slow pace with the symptoms being silent initially. These develop over time and may include the following:

  • Increased susceptibility to infections as the plasma is not producing normal antibodies for fighting the same.
  • Problems related to the bones, such as increased vulnerability to fractures
  • Bone pain, usually experienced in the spine and chest
  • Compromised kidney function
  • Decrease in the red blood cell count
  • Unexplained loss of appetite
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Excessive thirst and frequent urination
  • Nausea and mental fogginess


To know more about blood cancer and its treatment, you can consult the experts from the best cancer hospital in India.

Dr. Dharma Choudhary, Director & Head of the Department

Blood and Marrow Transplantation

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