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Blood Cancer: Diagnosis and Treatment

According to the National cancer institute, cancer is a disease in which some of the body's cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body.  Blood cancer is a type of cancer that occurs when there is an abnormal growth of white blood cells in the bone marrow. This abnormal growth interrupts the functioning of normal cells that fight off infection.

In India, Blood Cancer is growing at an alarming stage and has become a major public health concern. With nearly 1.5 million cases registered every year, India ranks 3rd highest in reported cases of blood cancer, after the US and China. 

Risk factors
Although the exact cause of blood cancer is unknown, research shows that certain risk factors may increase a person's chance of developing it. They include exposure to chemicals, age, smoking and alcohol, genetics, diet, chemotherapy drugs, blood disorders and radiation. 

Types of Blood Cancers: 

  • Leukemia: Leukaemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. It begins when rapid, uncontrolled growth of abnormal white cells take place in the bone marrow. These abnormal cells then spill into the bloodstream. Unlike other forms of cancers, there is no tumour growth.

Blood cancer and its types

  • Lymphoma: Lymphoma affects the lymph nodes and lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell in the lymphatic system. The lymphocytes grow out of control and collect in lymph nodes, the spleen, other lymph tissues and neighbouring organs. 

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system

  • Multiple Myeloma: This cancer develops in the bone marrow and affects plasma cells. Plasma cells are a type of white blood cells found in the bone marrow. When these cells become cancerous, they may accumulate in the bone marrow and weaken the bones. They may also produce faulty antibodies making it hard for the body to fight infections.

How to diagnose blood cancer?

If a blood cancer is suspected, then one may undergo the following diagnostic exams at an Oncology hospital. 

  • Physical exam: An oncologist will look for physical signs of blood cancer, such as pale skin from anaemia, swelling of your lymph nodes, and enlargement of your liver and spleen. This helps in detecting Lymphoma.

  • Blood tests: By looking at a sample of your blood, your oncologist can determine if you have abnormal levels of red or white blood cells or platelets — which may suggest Leukaemia.

Bone marrow test helps in detecting Multiple Myeloma

  • Bone marrow test: In this test, a sample of bone marrow is removed using a long, thin needle and sent to a laboratory to detect Multiple Myeloma. These specialized tests may reveal certain characteristics that determine treatment options.

There are various treatments available for cancer like Chemotherapy, Targeted therapy, Radiation therapy, Bone marrow transplant etc. The treatment may depend on various factors like your age, overall health, the type of blood cancer and its spread. 

Getting detected with cancer can have a devastating effect on the mind. A person may experience anxiety, depression and distress. Not just the affected, the news may even emotionally affect their families and caregivers. In such a scenario, it is important to get professional help and take necessary  measures. 

AJ hospital’s Oncology division is an accomplished centre for cancer and blood-related diseases. With our high-quality services and treatment, we have dedicated ourselves to make a difference in the lives of patients suffering from blood cancer

Oncology department of AJ Hospital

They include: Chemotherapy and other modern targeted therapies, screening, diagnoses and endoscopy; surgical procedures for malignant diseases of the head and neck, breast, brain, gastrointestinal tract, liver, orthopaedic, reproduction and Genitourinary organs.