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September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month

September 13, 2017

September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month

What is Blood Cancer?

In 2010, the United States Congress designated September to be the National Blood Cancer Awareness Month. Nearly 1.3 million Americans are living with, or are in remission from blood cancer such as leukemia, myeloma, or lymphoma. Blood cancer can affect anyone, there is no way to prevent or screen for most of the blood cancers.

Blood cancers are cancers of the blood, such as the bone marrow or lymph nodes that can affect normal blood cell function or production.

There are three main types of blood cancer. The first type of blood cancer is Leukemia, it affects the while blood cells which are designed to fight the infection, however, abnormal or too much production of white blood cells can make it difficult for other blood cells to move out causing the blood cancer.

 

The second type of cancer is, Lymphoma which affects the lymphatic system causing an abnormal amount of lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are another type of white blood cells and too much production of these cells can trigger problems in the body’s immune system. Lymphoma can develop in the bone marrow, lymph nodes, blood, the organs, and the spleen.

The third type of blood cancer is Myeloma, which is the cancer affecting plasma cells in the bone marrow.  Plasma cells help produce antibodies to help the body’s immune system. However, when myeloma occurs there is an abnormal amount that can prevent the antibodies from helping the immune system.

What are the symptoms of blood cancer?

Some of the symptoms of blood cancer is: Fatigue, dizziness, fever, night sweats, join pain, swollen lymph nodes, tender lumps, weight loss, infections, bruising and bleeding easily.

Symptoms of lymphoma include: swelling in the neck, armpit, or groin, weight loss, fever, night sweats, and feeling of breathlessness.

Symptoms of Myeloma include: persistent dull aching of bones, fatigue, shortness of breath, anemia, unusual bleeding and bruising.

How is blood cancer diagnosed and treated?

Blood cancers are normally diagnosed using biopsy or a routine urine or blood test. Blood cancer is treated with either chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or bone marrow and stem cell transplant.

The treatment will depend on what type of blood cancer the patient has. Depending on how advanced and aggressive the cancer is. Also, treatment may depend on the patient’s overall health.

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