Diseases Cancer

What Is Blood Cancer

Introduction

Blood is a special body fluid running through the cardio vascular system in humans and many other animals. Its job is to transport various substances and gases via vessels and capillaries to the tissues and organs while it also takes away the excretory substances from them. It has two parts: one liquid part called plasma and other solid part consisting of blood cells. Blood cancer can affect the solid part of blood. Blood cancer is an abnormal growth of cellular constituents of blood. Blood cancer may involve various cells in blood so there are many types of blood cancer. Malignant transformation of white blood cells is the most common etiology of blood cancer. Leukemia is the alternative name generally given to blood cancer. The major types of leukocytes are lymphocytes and granulocytes, and this classifies blood cancer as lymphomas and leukemia, respectively. Red blood cells and platelets overgrowth can also lead to blood cancer.

Symptoms of blood cancer

General symptoms of blood cancer appear in the start hence making them tricky to diagnose, but the symptoms can point to a possible diagnosis of blood cancer. A simple complete blood count is more than enough to rule out.
Symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Pallor
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Recurrent infections
  • Abnormal bleeding from any site of body
  • Rash or bruises
  • Abdominal discomfort and a feeling of mass
  • Bone and joint pan
  • Lymph node swelling
  • Lethargic and uninterested
  • Shortness of breath

Features

A few or all of these can be present in symptom list of blood cancer. Age is an important factor. Ethnicity is another. Environmental and family history in addition to exposure to radiations are other factors in blood cancer risk. Blood cancer is also called hematological malignancy due to the origin and behavioral pattern.

The multi-dimensional factorial etiology of blood cancer can be summed up in these words, that there is loss of control factor of growth of blood cell leads to cancer. In addition, the ability of premature cells to appear in blood and the old cells don’t die. DNA mutations are also a major cause. The diagnosis of blood cancer is made by simple blood test and then, bone marrow biopsy is done by pathologist. For details the DNA profiling and chromosomal analysis is done. The type, cells and bone marrow condition all can be diagnosed by these laboratory tests.

Treatment of blood cancer

The treatment depends on the type of blood cancer, the symptoms to be treated and sometimes on the patient’s health and the extent of the disease. The options are:

  • Chemotherapy: A single or a combination of drugs can be given especially in case of leukemia. It is given in cycles and a regular follow up is required.
  • Biological therapy: These are living agent taken from the body to treat blood cancer. Antibodies and interferon alpha are common examples.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiations are used in adjuvant or alone in blood cancer treatment plan. Radiotherapy can be general or focal.
  • Stem cell transplantation: Bone marrow or stem cell transplants are seen in treating patient with extensive blood cancer. This way, high doses of other kinds of treatment can be used. Healthy tissue rescues the patient from the ill effects of treatment. This type of treatment of blood cancer is under extensive research.
By Ali Javed, published at 02/23/2012
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