Blood cancer is also known as hematologic cancer. Blood cancer affects the function and production of blood cells. Most of the blood cancers start in the bone marrow where blood is produced. In bone marrow stem cells are present which mature and develop into three types of blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. In most of the blood cancers, the process of blood cell development is interrupted by the uncontrolled and abnormal growth of a type of blood cell. These abnormal blood cells are cancerous which prevent the blood to perform many functions such as fighting from infection and blood clotting during severe bleeding. Blood cancer affects the blood, bone marrow and lymphatic system. Blood cancer is divided into three main groups
- Leukemia – Leukemia affects white blood cells. In leukemia bone marrow start to produce an abnormal number of immature white blood cells. These immature white blood cells clog up the bone marrow and stop it to making other blood cells which are required for a balanced immune system and healthy blood. Acute leukemia comes suddenly and progresses quickly. Acute leukemia needs to be treated urgently. While chronic leukemia develops slowly, it can take months or years to develop chronic leukemia.
- Lymphoma – it affects the lymphatic system of the body. The lymphatic system is an essential part of the immune system which helps to protect the body from diseases and infections. In lymphoma, the body starts to make so many lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cells. In lymphoma, lymphocytes live longer than they should, and the immune system becomes overloaded with lymphocytes. Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer which can develop in many parts of the body such as lymph nodes, blood, bone marrow, spleen and other organs.
- Myeloma – myeloma is also known as multiple myeloma. It is a blood cancer of plasma cells. Plasma cells are found in the bone marrow, and the primary function of plasma cells is to produce antibodies. Antibodies help to fight infection. In myeloma, large numbers of plasma cells gather in the bone marrow and stop the bone marrow from producing other cells of immune system. The risk of myeloma increase as you gets older.
Blood cancer is hard to diagnose because of the vagueness and non-specific nature of the symptoms. Some of the common symptoms of blood cancer are –
- Fever and fatigue
- Feeling weak and breathless
- Pain in bones and joints
- Abdominal pain with swollen spleen or liver
- Frequent infection
- Bleeding and bruising
- Decreased blood clotting
- Sudden weight loss
- Itchy skin
There can be many reasons of blood cancer, and some of them are below –
The change in the genetic information of plasma cells is one of the reasons which caused blood cancer.
Radiation or chemotherapy can also cause leukemia. Because of chemotherapy and radiation, genetic damage happens in the genetic material on sister chromosomes which lead uncontrolled growth and division of cells. The growth becomes cancerous.
Carcinogens such as benzene, black hair dye, etc. play an active role to damage the genetic information and cells functions to regulate the growth.
It is advised to consume nutritious and healthy diet to minimize the chances of getting affected by any disease. A balanced diet and healthy lifestyle support immune system.
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