Blood Cancer Awareness Month.

Blood cancer as the name implies means cancer of the blood, it represents a large group of different malignancies. This group includes cancers of the bone marrow, blood and lymphatic system, which includes lymph nodes, thymus, spleen, lymphatic vessels, and digestive tract lymphoid tissues. Myeloma and leukaemia, which start in the lymphoma and bone marrow; the one that start in the lymphatic system are the most common type of blood cancer. The causes of the is still unknown.

How are the blood cells produced? Normally!

Blood cells are developed through the process called haematopoiesis. This involves bone marrow and part of the lymphatic system.

Bone marrow: is a spongy tissue that can be found in the sternum and rib cage, skull, vertebrae, pelvis and long bones.

Lymphatic system: lymphatic organs involved in haematopoiesis are thymus, spleen and lymph nodes.

Bone marrow contains unspecialised cells known as haematopoietic stem cells. As the divide and mature, they become more specialised and develop into one of the three mature type of blood cells, each with a specific function. This type of blood cells are white blood cells, which protect against infections and foreign matter; Red blood cells, transport oxygen around the body; and platelets, which prevent bleeding.

The specific cause of blood cancer is unknown, however there are several factors that have been associated with the development of the disease. Many blood cancers are more common among older adults. Some tend to run in families. Certain infections also appear to increase the risk of blood cancers, as does a weakened immune system.

Some studies have illustrated that blood cancers develop when damage occurs to vital genes, which disrupt the normal lifecycle of blood cells, and upsetting this balance.

Risk factors
  1. Infection: Those infected by HIV all come under the risky demography are prone to blood cancer.
  2. Low immunity: compromised immune system due to such conditions as HIV/AIDS, organ transplant, or corticosteroids.
  3. Genetic disorders: e.g. heredity/family history is one of the likely factors making one more prone to blood cancer than those without family history of the disease.
  4. Chemical exposure and radiation
  5. Autoimmune disorders
  6. Environmental exposure
Common symptoms
  1. Fatigue,
  2. Frequent infections,
  3. Frequent urination,
  4. Enlarge liver and glands, such as the lymph nodes and spleen.
  5. Easy bleeding or bruising.
  6. Bone or join pain
  7. Night sweats
  8. Unexplained weight loss
  9. Nausea, which may be described as feelings of queasiness, wooziness, retching, sea-sickness, upset stomach or car-sickness
  10. Chills and fever.
Life-threatening symptoms
  1. Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure, palpitations
  2. Bluish coloration of the lips or fingernails
  3. Change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness
  4. High fever (higher than 101 degree Fahrenheit)
  5. Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  6. Severe abdominal pain
  7. Respiratory or breathing issues, such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, laboured breathing, wheezing seizure
  8. Change in mental status or sudden behaviour change, such as confusion delirium, hallucinations and delusions
Type of blood cancer

There are three type of blood cancers. Each of the variety may also include several variations, but in general, this cancer is categorized into:

  1. Leukaemia: with spurt in the multiplicity of cancerous cells affecting either the marrow or the blood; the ability of the circulatory system to produce blood, is severely impaired.
  2. Myeloma: as part of Myeloma, the plasma is affected by the cancerous formation.
  3. Lymphoma: the cancerous formation affecting the lymphocytes is referred to as the lymphoma. Lymphocytes are one of the varieties of white blood corpuscles.

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