Blood cancer is one of the most dangerous cancers to treat. People from any age group can suffer from blood cancer.
Depending upon the type of blood cancer a person is suffering from, treatment may vary. The best blood cancer treatment in India is either chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
In many cases, a bone marrow transplant is also done to treat cancer. Some of the types of blood cancer are discussed below:
1. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is the most common type of cancer affecting children. ALL starts in the bone marrow and causes immature white blood cells called blast cells to multiply rapidly in the blood.
These immature white blood cells cause many symptoms including extreme fatigue, fever, sore throat, swollen glands, mouth sores, bleeding gums, skin rash, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, stomach aches, headaches, shortness of breath, coughing, frequent infections.
Symptoms may appear suddenly or gradually over several weeks or months. In some cases, symptoms may not occur until long after the patient was diagnosed.
2. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia begins in the immune system and affects red blood cells by causing them to become abnormally shaped. As a result, they lose their normal ability to carry oxygen around the body.
CLL occurs when the number of B-cell lymphocytes increases in the bone marrow. A person with CLL may have no symptoms or only mild ones. However, CLL often progresses slowly over time.
If left untreated, it eventually causes problems with the heart, liver, spleen, kidneys, nervous system, bones, and/or eyes. When people develop chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, doctors monitor how well their disease responds to treatments.
3. Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma is a malignant tumour that forms in plasma cells, a type of white blood cell. Normally, plasma cells live in bone marrow, where they produce antibodies. But if a plasma cell becomes damaged or changes shape, it can leave the bone marrow and enter the bloodstream.
Doctors call this type of cancer “plasma cell” cancer. There are two types of multiple myeloma. One type develops in patients who already have monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS). MGUS means that the amount of protein produced by abnormal plasma cells is below the level considered abnormal.
Another type develops in individuals without a previous diagnosis of MGUS. People with both types of multiple myelomas have similar symptoms. Many people with multiple myeloma feel tired and weak. Other symptoms include back pain, leg weakness, difficulty walking, kidney failure, anemia, loss of appetite, weight loss, urinary tract infections, and infections caused by bacteria that normally do not infect humans. Most people with multiple myelomas die within 2 years of being diagnosed.
4. Hodgkin’s Disease
Hodgkin’s disease is a cancerous disorder of the lymphatic system. The term Hodgkin comes from Dr William J. Hodgkin, who first described the condition in 1832. Hodgkin’s disease causes the enlargement of affected lymph nodes and the accumulation of lymphoid cells in the lymph nodes and spleen.
It may also affect the bone marrow, liver, lungs, intestine, central nervous system, skin, thyroid gland, breast, ovaries, testicles, prostate, and bladder. Hodgkin’s disease is divided into four different types. Type I involves only enlarged lymph nodes.
Type II involves enlarged lymph nodes and additional organs. Type III includes enlarged lymph nodes, spleen, and bone marrow. Type IV is the rarest form of Hodgkin’s disease and involves enlarged lymph nodes, spleens, bone marrow, and other organs. Types II, III, and IV are collectively known as advanced-stage Hodgkin’s disease.
Hodgkin’s disease is classified as either nodular sclerosis type or mixed cellularity type. The nodular sclerosis type is characterized by small, firm, round to oval masses that resemble benign lumps under the skin. The mixed cellularity type is characterized by larger masses containing cells of various sizes in a background of smaller cells.
Both types of Hodgkin’s disease are treated using chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Chemotherapy kills cancer cells while radiation kills cancer cells and makes them unable to reproduce. Radiation does not damage healthy cells.
5. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL)
Non-Hodgkin‘s lymphoma is a group of cancers that begin in the lymphatic system. NHL is broken down into three categories depending on the size and location of the affected lymph node. Small to medium-sized lymph nodes are categorized as indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), whereas large lymph nodes are categorized as aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
NHL is further subdivided into follicular lymphoma, marginal zone lymphoma, and lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma. NHL is further subdivided into diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, Burkitt lymphoma, primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphomas, and anaplastic large-cell lymphoma.