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Blood Cancer And Its Types

Blood Cancer And Its Types

Blood cancer is a group of diseases that affect the blood and bone marrow, leading to abnormal growth and function of blood cells. There are several types of blood cancer, which are categorized into three main categories: leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.

1: Leukemia

Leukemia is a type of blood cancer that affects the white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting infections. Subtypes of leukemia are as follows:

  • Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL): A fast-growing and aggressive form of leukemia that affects lymphoid cells.
  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML): A fast-growing and aggressive form of leukemia that affects myeloid cells.
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL): A slow-growing and chronic form of leukemia that affects lymphoid cells.
  • Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML): A slow-growing and chronic form of leukemia that affects myeloid cells.

2: Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which is responsible for fighting infections and filtering out harmful substances. There are several subtypes of lymphoma, including:

  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A type of lymphoma that develops in the lymphatic system from cells called lymphocytes.
  • Hodgkin Lymphoma: A type of lymphoma that develops in the lymphatic system from cells called lymphocytes.
  • Burkitt Lymphoma: A type of lymphoma that develops in the lymphatic system from cells called lymphocytes.
  • Central Nervous System (CNS) Lymphoma: A type of lymphoma that develops in the brain or spinal cord.

3: Myeloma

A kind of blood cancer called myeloma attacks the plasma cells, which are in charge of making antibodies to fend off infections. Myeloma has multiple subtypes, which include:

  • Multiple Myeloma: A type of myeloma that affects multiple areas of the bone marrow.
  • Plasma Cell Leukemia: A type of myeloma that affects the blood.

Other Types of Blood Cancer

Other types of blood cancer include:

  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS): A group of conditions where the bone marrow doesn’t work properly and produces faulty blood cells.
  • Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (MPNs): A group of blood cancers that affect the bone marrow and produce abnormal blood cells.
  • Myelofibrosis: a type of blood cancer in which scar tissue is produced by the bone marrow.
  • Polycythaemia Vera (PV): A type of blood cancer that causes the body to produce too many red blood cells.
  • Essential Thrombocythaemia (ET): a particular kind of blood cancer that results in excessive platelet production.
  • Hairy Cell Leukemia (HCL): A type of blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system.
  • Large Granular Lymphocytic Leukemia (LGLL): A type of blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system.
  • Mast Cell Leukemia (MCL): A type of blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system.
  • Waldenstrom Macroglobulinaemia (WM): A type of blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes: Blood cancer is caused by changes (mutations) in the DNA within blood cells, which can occur during a person’s lifetime and are not genetic faults that can be passed on.

Risk Factors: Known risk factors for blood cancer include

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Ethnicity
  • Family history
  • Radiation or chemical exposure
  • Certain health conditions and treatments.

Symptoms

Depending on the type, blood cancer symptoms can vary, but common ones include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained bruising or bleeding
  • Lumps or swellings
  • Shortness of breath
  • Drenching night sweats
  • Persistent, recurrent, or severe infections
  • Fever
  • Rash or itchy skin
  • Pain in bones, joints, or abdomen
  • Exhaustion that doesn’t go away when you rest or sleep
  • Paleness (pallor)

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis: Blood cancer is diagnosed through a series of tests, including complete blood counts (CBCs), biopsies, and imaging tests.

Treatment: Treatment options vary depending on the type of blood cancer and may include chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy, radiotherapy, and stem cell transplants.

Overview and Statistics

Overview: Blood cancer is a serious illness that can affect anyone, but it is more common in men and in people over 40 years old.

Statistics: Over 40,000 people are diagnosed with blood cancer each year in the UK, and over 250,000 people are currently living with blood cancer. In the United States, blood cancers account for about 10% of all diagnosed cancers each year.

Yale Medicine’s Approach

Yale Medicine uses a multidisciplinary approach to diagnose and treat blood cancer, involving clinicians, pathologists, radiologists, and radiation oncologists to ensure consensus on diagnosis and treatment plans.

Cleveland Clinic’s Approach

Cleveland Clinic also uses a multidisciplinary approach, involving healthcare providers from various specialties to diagnose and treat blood cancer.

Survival Rates

Survival rates for blood cancer vary depending on the type, but many people with blood cancer can expect to survive as long as most other people.

FAQ’s

1: Does cancer show up in blood work?

Most cancers cannot be detected in routine blood work, such as a complete blood count (CBC) test. However, specific blood tests can identify tumor markers, which are chemicals and proteins that may be found in the blood in higher quantities than normal when cancer is present.

Blood tests can provide clues and are used to monitor cancer, they cannot currently diagnose most cancers on their own. Additional testing such as imaging, biopsies, and physical exams are typically needed to confirm a cancer diagnosis.

2: I have cancer If my blood tests are normal?                 

Yes, it is possible to have cancer even if your routine blood tests are normal. Most cancers cannot be detected by routine blood work alone.

Certain blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma are exceptions and may show abnormal results on a complete blood count (CBC). But for the majority of solid tumors, blood tests are not sufficient to diagnose or rule out cancer.

However, abnormal results on a routine blood test can sometimes be a sign of cancer. For example, high levels of platelets (thrombocytosis) may indicate an increased risk of cancer, especially lung, prostate and colorectal cancers. But a normal platelet count does not completely exclude cancer.

If you have concerning symptoms, it’s important to discuss them with your doctor even if your blood tests are normal. Your doctor may order additional tests like imaging scans, endoscopies or biopsies to investigate further. Cancer screening tests based on your age and risk factors are also important for early detection.

In summary, while routine blood tests are a valuable tool, they have limitations in detecting cancer. Abnormal results may raise suspicion, but normal results do not rule out cancer. Open communication with your doctor about your health is key.

3: Can cancer show high blood pressure?

No, cancer cannot directly show high blood pressure. Cancer is a disease characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells, whereas high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition where the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated. These are two distinct conditions with different underlying causes and mechanisms.

However, there is a significant association between hypertension and the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Studies have found that individuals with hypertension are at a higher risk of developing kidney, colorectal, breast, and other cancers. This association is thought to be due to shared risk factors such as age, smoking, diet, and adiposity, as well as potential biological mechanisms that link hypertension to cancer development.

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