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Home >> Specialities >> Cancer Care >> Blood Cancer Treatment

Blood Cancer Treatment

With more than 1.24 million cases diagnosed every year, blood cancer roughly accounts for 6 per cent of all the malignancies that affect people across the globe. In India, blood cancer is one of the leading causes of death and accounts for 8 per cent of all the new malignancies that are diagnosed.

What is Blood Cancer?
Blood Cancer also referred to as Haematologic Cancer, is a term used for any cancer that involves blood cells. Cancer originates within the bone marrow and gradually spreads to the rest of the body. Some of the most common types of blood cancers include: 

Leukaemia - Leukaemia is a type of blood cancer that is marked by the uncontrolled multiplication of white blood cells that are found within the bone marrow. It happens to be one of the most commonly diagnosed types of cancer. The abnormal white blood cells are immature and not capable of fighting infections. These are commonly referred to as blasts. While some forms of Leukaemia are predominantly found in kids, others are more common in adults and elderlies.

Multiple Myeloma - Multiple Myeloma is a type of blood cancer that develops from white blood cells. It is marked by the increased production of unhealthy white blood cells in the bone marrow. These, having a longer life span than the healthy cells, remain in the body for a much longer period of time, thereby, crowding the normal cells. The global incidence of multiple myeloma is increasing significantly, especially in men who are above 50 years of age.

Lymphoma - Lymphoma is an umbrella term used for various blood cancers that involve the lymphatic system. This involves the lymph nodes, spleen and thymus gland. With about 580,000 cases diagnosed every year, lymphoma happens to be the most common type of blood cancer. Lymphoma is quite aggressive and can metastasize at a significantly fast pace. Although people of any age group can develop lymphoma, it is majorly seen in young adults, specifically in the age group of 15 to 24 years. 

What are the symptoms of Blood Cancer?
Common symptoms that may point towards the possibility of one having Blood Cancer include:

  • Getting exhausted very easily
  • Frequent infections, fevers and chills
  • Unintended weight loss 
  • Sweating at night
  • Pain in the bones and joints
  • Headaches, fatigue and weakness
  • Breathlessness 
  • Developing red, itchy rashes on the skin
  • Swelling in the lymph nodes.

When should you see a specialist?
It is advisable to see a specialist as soon as you detect any of the above-mentioned symptoms. All these just points towards the possibility of you having blood cancer but are not definitive. In order to confirm whether a patient has blood cancer or not, doctors perform some physical examinations and tests. The sooner you consult a specialist, your prognosis would be quicker and you would have a better chance to overcome it. 

What causes Blood Cancer? 
Blood Cancer is the result of mutations in the DNA of the blood cells which lead to their uncontrolled multiplication. Although the exact cause of this is not known, it is known to be influenced by a number of factors, which include”

  • Ageing
  • Being a male
  • Being exposed to harmful chemicals
  • Excessive smoking 
  • Personal history of cancer
  • Family history of blood cancer
  • Having undergone cancer treatment in the past
  • Compromised immune system
  • Being overweight or obese 

Modalities used for the Diagnosis of Blood Cancer 

  • Physical examination
  • Blood and bone marrow analysis
  • Ultrasound 
  • Computerised tomography or CT scan 
  • Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI 
  • PET scan

Treatment options available for Blood Cancer

  • Stem cell transplant 
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy  
  • Chemotherapy

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