Blood cancer or hematologic cancer affects the formation and functioning of the blood cells and bone marrow. It primarily affects the blood, bone marrow, and lymphatic system. Bone marrow is the spongy tissue where blood cells are produced. Blood cancer leads to abnormal growth of the blood cells, which, in turn, disrupts their normal functioning and the body’s ability to fight infections, possibly causing heavy bleeding. Blood cancers account for approximately 10% of all cancers and occur more commonly in men than women.
Types of Blood Cancer
Based on the affected tissue/organ, blood cancer can be classified as:
Leukemia leukemia is a cancer of white blood cells (WBCs) and is most common in children below 15 years.
Lymphoma Lymphoma is the cancer of the lymphatic system and lymphocytes. The most common type is Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The other types are called non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Myeloma Myeloma affects the plasma cells that produce disease-fighting antibodies. It impairs plasma cell production, resulting in a weak immune system.
Causes of Blood Cancer
Blood cancer could be caused by the following:
- Change in genes or mutations
- Hereditary factors
- Exposure to radiation like radiotherapy (cancer treatment) or X-rays, or working in strong electromagnetic fields
- Exposure to harmful chemicals (like benzene and formaldehyde) due to occupation or via accident or living close to such industries
Signs and Symptoms of Blood Cancer
- Malaise, fatigue, and weakness
- Fever and chills
- Skin rashes
- Joint and bone pain
- Bone fractures from minor body strain
- Excessive or easy bruising
- Bleeding gums
- Frequent infections
- Body sweating during the night
- Weight loss
- Frequent vomiting Anorexia
- Enlarged/swollen lymph nodes in neck, groin, or underarms
- Lumps in large abdominal organs Abdominal distension
Risk Factors of Blood Cancer
- Exposure to harmful chemicals like benzene (used in the rubber, oil, chemical, shoe, and gasoline industries) and formaldehyde
- Family history Race and ethnicity – whites are more prone than blacks
- History of viral infections like Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Epstein-Barr virus, and human T-cell (lymphoma/leukemia) virus infections
- Exposure to radiations and electromagnetic fields
Diagnosis and Tests for Blood Cancer
The doctors diagnose the type and stage of the blood cancer by asking about the patient’s medical history, signs, symptoms, and physical examination. This is followed by blood tests, imaging tests, bone marrow examination, and/or biopsy (tissue sampling), etc. Staging is a way of determining the severity and progression of blood cancer.
Various diagnostic tests include:
- Biopsy: Tissue sampling from lymph nodes is done for the final diagnosis and to identify the type of blood cancer.
- Bone marrow sampling: A sample of bone marrow taken from the hip bone is analyzed to identify the involved cells.
Treatment of Blood Cancer
How is the Blood Cancer is treated?
Blood cancer is treated by specialists called hematologic-oncologists, who have special training in the functioning of the blood and lymphatic system. Treatment depends on the age, gender, type and stage of blood cancer, affected cells, and the patient’s overall health condition.
Types of treatment for Blood Cancer
- Chemotherapy: Medications are administered to kill the cancerous cells; however, these have multiple side effects.
- Radiotherapy: High-frequency radiations target cancer cells.
- Stem cell transplantation: Injecting healthy stem cells into the body after treatment to remove malignant blood cells can help the body produce healthy blood again.
- Targeted therapy: Medications are administered to specifically target cancerous blood cells while sparing the healthy cells.
- Cancer surgery: Surgery might be required in a few lymphomas to remove the affected lymph nodes, which is possibly followed by chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
- Immunotherapy: The immune cells are activated to kill the specific cancer cells.
Health management during the treatment
- Understand infection risk
- Manage side effects of treatment
- Be patient
Exercise plan Regular exercises like walking, aerobic exercises, yoga, etc., should be followed to regain strength quickly. You can increase the intensity and duration as per your stamina, age, and overall health condition.
Diet plan A light and nutritious diet with a good mixture of fruits, veggies, and proteins may aid quick recovery. Avoid canned, sugary, and junk food.
What Is The Cost Of Blood Cancer Treatment In India?
Blood cancer treatment cost in India includes the following:
- Biopsy, PET CT, Blood test, CT scan, Ultrasound, X-ray.
- Depending on the advised treatment and stage of cancer, the treatment cost can vary.
- The treatment may include radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or both as required by the health condition before or after the operation.
- Other costs include the expenses of medicines, care after the operation, consultation charges, hospital stay costs, etc.
Additional factors that determine the cost of treatment are the doctor's expertise, hospital, age of the patient, treatment protocol, and stage of cancer.
Blood cancer treatment cost in India is more cost-effective and transparent than in other countries in the west. Many people visit India to get the best treatment and care.
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