Human beings have three kinds of blood cells – white, red, and platelets. White blood cells boost the immune systems and fight infection. Red blood cells take oxygen to various tissues. Platelets clot the blood when one is injured.
Blood cancer occurs when cancer tissues affect these blood cells and bone marrow. The proper functioning of the different blood cells is required for a human being to survive. Blood cancer changes the functioning of these cells drastically.
There are several advancements in the medical world for blood cancer treatment today. However, the treatment depends upon the stage and type of blood cancer.
Types of Blood Cancer:-
There are primarily three kinds of blood cancer:-
- Leukemia: Patients affected with leukemia produce a lot of white blood cells. But, these white blood cells do not have the power to fight infections.
Leukemia can grow in the lymphocytes in the bone marrow and myeloid cells. There are four kinds of leukemia:-
- Acute lymphocytic leukemia
- Acute myeloid leukemia
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
- Chronic myeloid leukemia
- Lymphoma: This cancer affects the vessels, including the spleen, thymus gland, and lymph nodes. These vessels are responsible for storing and transporting white blood cells. There are two kinds of lymphoma:-
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Myeloma: Plasma cells are specific white blood cells that create antibodies. Myeloma is a cancer type that affects the plasma cells in the bone marrow.
Symptoms of Blood Cancer
There are a variety of symptoms that can be associated with blood cancer. Many of these symptoms are also associated with other diseases, so it is important to consult with a doctor if you experience any of them. Blood cancer symptoms can include:
-Bleeding or bruising easily
-Swollen lymph nodes
-Skin rashes or infections
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor so that they can rule out other potential causes and provide you with the appropriate treatment.
With the advancement in medicine, there has also been an improvement in blood cancer treatment. Blood cancer can be divided into four stages depending on the seriousness of the disease.
Health specialists deploy several therapies and treatments to fight blood cancer. Some of them are:-
It is the most common treatment used to combat leukemia. It is a drug treatment. Specific chemicals are used in the drug, which helps to destroy the cancer cells. Chemotherapy is also successful against the other two types of blood cancer.
Depending on the type of blood cancer, individuals receive a single dose or a combination of drugs. The duration of treatment varies from one regimen to another. It can be six months for some, while for others, it can last longer.
Targeted therapy is available in almost all major hospitals around the country. It helps to block the abnormalities within the cell and destroy cancer. Some examples are tyrosine kinase inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies. It blocks the cancer cells from multiplying or dividing. It ultimately cuts off the blood supply required for these cells to survive.
In this kind of blood cancer treatment, X-rays or some other kind of high-intensity beams are used. These radioactive rays help to destroy cancer cells.
Patients receive different types of radiation therapy depending on the kind of blood cancer they have. The radiation may be localized to a particular part of the body. At other times, the entire body undergoes radiation therapy.
Bone Marrow Transplant:
It can also be called a stem cell transplant. It helps to re-instill healthy cells by removing the bone marrow filled with unhealthy cells. These healthy cells will grow and generate into the healthy bone marrow.
Before a bone marrow transplant, patients receive high doses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy kills the cancer cells growing on the bone marrow. These help to rebuild and restructure the bone marrow.
In this kind of therapy, our in-built immune system fights cancer. Cancer happens because the immune system cannot fight against cancer. It is because the cancer cells produce a specific kind of protein. This protein helps them to camouflage from the immune system. Immunotherapy disrupts this process and makes the immune system destroy the cancer cells. Some of the examples include CAR-T cell therapy, interferon, and interleukins.
It does not cure blood cancer, so it is not always recognized as a legitimate blood cancer treatment. But, blood transfusion helps to keep blood cancer in check.
Healthy individuals donate blood for transfusion. These healthy cells substitute the unhealthy red and white cells and platelets. Therefore, blood transfusion needs to be carried out periodically for the patients. Though this method cannot cure blood cancer, it can prolong the fight against it.
Blood cancer is harmful to the body if not treated. Healthy blood cells are an important component of our body. Hence, the right blood cancer treatment is very crucial for the well-being of the patient.