Blood Cancer is vital in the body as it supplies the other organs with oxygen, nutrients, hormones, and antibodies. It is made up of plasma and blood cells. Blood cancer is usually due to abnormal and overproduction of blood cells.
There are three primary types of blood cancers –
- Leukemia: It is a common form of blood cancer, especially prevalent in children less than 15 years of age. It can be acute or chronic, depending upon the progression. It can affect lymphocytes or other blood cells.
- Lymphoma: It affects lymphocytes and is classified as Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s. It is most common in adults.
- Myeloma: Cancer of plasma cells. It affects the body’s immune system and makes it susceptible to infection.
There are four stages of blood cancer –
- Stage 1
Lymph node enlargement is due to an increase in the number of lymphocytes. The risk is comparatively low at this level as cancer has not yet metastasized.
- Stage 2
There is an enlargement of the spleen, liver, and lymph nodes. It includes one or all of these organs. This stage sees a high growth of lymphocytes.
- Stage 3
In the third stage, anemia develops; the organs, as mentioned earlier, are still enlarged. More than two organs get enlarged at this stage. Digital Marketing Vs Social Media Marketing
- Stage 4
It is the last stage with the highest risk ratio. The blood platelet count starts falling rapidly and the cancer cells affect the lungs and other organs.
Risk factors for blood cancers:
Genetic and environmental factors like:
- Radiation exposure
- Exposure to chemicals like Benzene
- Individuals infected with Epstein-Barr virus, HIV, and T-cell lymphoma are at risk of developing leukemia and lymphoma
The blood cancer symptoms are:
They start as a red patch and eventually get darker over time. They are tender and might not be visible due to their black/brown color.
Appear in clusters (petechiae) or larger blotches (purpura). On light skin, they appear purple or red. They do not fade on pressing.
- Looking Pale:
It is noticeable in light-skinned individuals. Individuals with black or brown skin look more pale than usual. It is also apparent in their lips, gum, tongue, or nail beds. You can check it by pulling down the lower eyelid. The inside color is usually dark pink/red; however, the pale pink or white color denotes pallor.
- Tiredness, breathlessness, paleness:
The primary cause of this is anemia (decreased RBCs). The primary function of red blood cells is to carry oxygen to different parts. Having decreased red blood cell count will make you sluggish and fatigued which does not subside after sleeping. Other blood cancer symptoms include pallor, dizziness, and headaches.
- Unexplained rash, bruising, or bleeding:
It is due to decreased platelet count, as platelets help in blood clotting.
If bruises appear with no injury history, it is indicative of a low platelet count. They are tender and are of a different color. They can be small (petechiae) or larger (purpura); they look like a rash but are clusters of minor bruises. You might have a nose, gum, or prolonged bleeding from a cut/heavy periods/blood in urine or stool. There can rarely be bleeding in the brain that might cause neurological symptoms.
- Infections or unexplained fever:
Frequent infections and fever are due to low white blood cell count that serves immunological functions in the body. You might get persistent, recurrent, severe conditions or high temperature without infections. The infection may represent itself in the form of chills, sweating, cough, or sore throat.
- Lumps and swellings:
Lumps and swellings are due to white blood cells building up in lymph glands. They are most visible in the neck, armpit, or groin. Usually non-tender; however, they occasionally ache in some people—the lumps or swellings inside the body press on the organs and cause pain, discomfort, or breathlessness.
- Bone pain:
It is due to damage to the bones. Myeloma might cause bone damage and pain in bones like the back and ribs.
- Night sweats:
People with lymphoma have drenching night sweats; however, the etiology is unknown.
- Itchy skin:
People with blood cancer experience itching. The etiology is unknown as of now.
- Unexplained weight loss:
The cancer cells might affect the body’s metabolism and reduce muscle mass and fat.
- Abdominal (stomach area) problems:
The abdominal issues are due to abnormal blood cells building up in the spleen. You might feel full after eating small amounts, discomfort under the left side’s ribs, bloating or swelling, or occasional pain.
Acute cancer has a rapid progression rate and develops symptoms quickly, which is called a blast crisis. Other blood cancer symptoms might include breathing issues, neurological symptoms like vision changes, confusion, vomiting, loss of muscle control, or seizures.
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