Know all about types of blood cancer, its symptoms, diagnosis and treatment – DNA India

Posted: October 31, 2020 at 5:53 am

Blood cancer is a disorder that affects the production as well as the normal functioning of blood cells. The process of normal blood cell development is disturbed because of the uncontrolled growth of abnormal blood cells. These abnormal or cancerous cells disrupt the normal functions of blood components such as preventing bleeding and defending infections.

Blood Cancer (Haematopoietic malignancies) is one of the top 10 cancers in India and as per the latest Cancer Report of ICMR, it is estimated that by 2025 nearly 1.38 lakh people would be affected. Currently, around 1.25 lakh people are suffering from the disease which constitutes 9% of total cancers in the country.

While speaking about blood cancer, Dr Divya Bansal, Consultant - Clinical Hematology and Stem Cell Transplant, HCMCT Manipal Hospitals, New Delhi, said, "Blood is a liquid medium present throughout the body and not confined to a defined area, which makes blood cancers and their treatment very different from solid-organ cancers. There is a limited role of surgery and radiation therapy in the treatment of blood cancers, as they are thermosensitive."

She continued, "Chemotherapy treatment for blood cancers is much more intense in comparison to solid cancers and hence, their side effects. Also, the staging of blood cancers is very different from solid cancers and concept of metastasis is not applicable for blood cancers."

"In the case of blood cancers, prognostic risk stratification is important. Bone marrow transplant has a limited role in solid cancers but remains the curative treatment for blood cancers. This difference has actually led to the development of a completely different speciality for treatment of blood cancers i.e. Haemato-oncology, all over the world," Dr Divya Bansal added.

Meanwhile, in order for us to understand the types of blood cancers, its symptoms and treatment, Dr Divya Bansal carefully explained each one and helped us list them out.

Take a look.

Types of blood cancers

Leukaemia

This is caused by the fast production of abnormal white blood cells, and these abnormal are seen in blood and the bone marrow. A large number of abnormal WBCs are unable to defend infections.

Lymphoma

This is a type of blood cancer that involves the lymphatic system. Abnormal lymphocytes turn into lymphoma cells that multiply and get accumulated in the lymph nodes. Gradually, these cancer cells impair the immune system.

Myeloma

This affects the plasma cells, the cells that produce antibodies against disease in the body. Myeloma cells disturb the normal development of antibodies and make the body susceptible to infection.

Symptoms

- Fever- Weight loss- Loss of appetite- Bony pains- Bleeding from any sites- Generalised weakness and fatigue- Night sweats- Nodular swelling around the neck, axilla or groin- Abdominal swelling

Diagnosis

One can get the disease diagnosed with the help of a blood test, bone marrow aspiration, and biopsy. In cases of lymphoma, one must opt for a lymph node biopsy. Other options include PET-CT, specialized tests such as Flowcytometry or Immunohistochemistry, Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH), Karyotyping and Next-generation sequencing (NGS) which is the latest technique of diagnosing and risk stratification of blood cancers.

Treatment

Chemotherapy

An oral or injectable drug that travels in the bloodstream throughout the body and kills the cancer cells. It damages cancer cells and stops division and growth of it, leading to their death.

Immunotherapy

It refers to agents that use the bodys immune system to help fight diseases such as blood cancer. It can work directly with your bodys immune system to stop or slow the growth of cancer cells. Biologic therapies include substances made by the body or in a lab. Cytokines, Gene therapy, and Immunomodulators, and Monoclonal antibodies are the main types of immunotherapy.

Targeted therapy

Therapies that target a certain genetic mutation known to occur in a specific blood cancer is called targeted therapy. Here, we target a protein that is present in cancer cells due to mutation. As soon as a mutation is identified, we can develop a treatment to target that target. Destroying cancer cells is the main aim of this therapy.

Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT)

It is a procedure where a damaged or non-functional bone marrow cells are replaced by healthy multipotent hematopoietic stem cells.

Overall, BMT remains the only curative treatment for most of the blood cancers. There are two types of bone marrow transplant procedure used in the treatment of blood cancers -- Autologous BMT, when patient's own stem cells are infused back after high dose chemotherapy, and, Allogenic BMT, when the source of stem cells is a healthy donor, either related or unrelated.

A few blood cancers if treated promptly and effectively can be managed well and even cured.

Examples of blood cancers which can be cured include Acute Promyelocytic leukaemia, Chronic myeloid leukaemia, Hairy cell leukaemia, and Paediatric Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

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Know all about types of blood cancer, its symptoms, diagnosis and treatment - DNA India

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