World Blood Cancer Day 2022: Oncologist busts common myths about blood cancer

Published on May 27, 2022 07:48 PM IST

World Blood Cancer Day 2022: On the occasion of World Blood Cancer Day that is observed every year on May 28, an oncologist debunks some common myths related to blood cancer. 

There are around 1.24 million blood cancer cases that occur worldwide annually, accounting for approximately 6% of all cancer cases(Pixabay)
There are around 1.24 million blood cancer cases that occur worldwide annually, accounting for approximately 6% of all cancer cases(Pixabay)

World Blood Cancer Day 2022: Blood cancer is a type of cancer that affects your blood cells. There are different types of blood cancers including leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). Each type of blood cancer has different symptoms but all blood cancers begin with changes in DNA within blood cells. When something goes wrong with the DNA inside a blood cell, the blood cell may not develop or work properly, not die when it should, or divide and multiply too quickly. This can lead to blood cancer. When abnormal cells keep multiplying, they may stop healthy blood cells from working and preventing body from infections or repairing your body. (Also read: Study finds nutrient's role in childhood blood cancer)

There are around 1.24 million blood cancer cases that occur worldwide annually, accounting for approximately 6% of all cancer cases. On the occasion of World Blood Cancer Day that is observed every year on May 28, Dr Niti Raizada, Director - Medical Oncology and Hemato-Oncology, Fortis Hospitals, Bangalore busts some common myths related to blood cancer.

"Cancers of the blood, bone marrow, and lymphatic system are collectively referred to as blood cancer. When the body's RBC, WBC or platelet production is unusual or abnormal, blood cancer develops. It normally begins in the bone marrow, which is responsible for the production of blood. The normal functioning, growth, and development of blood cells that fight infection and make healthy blood cells are disrupted by this type of cancer. Broadly, this group of cancers include Lymphoma, Leukemia or Myeloma," says Dr Raizada.

Here are some common myths related to blood cancer debunked by an oncologist.

Myth: A bone marrow transplant is required for all individuals with blood cancer.

Fact: Not all patients with blood cancer require a transplant. The need of a bone marrow transplant is evaluated individually based on their underlying diagnosis, treatment response, and tumour genetic profile. Patients' response to treatment in cases of acute leukemia has improved thanks to cutting-edge genetic profiling technologies combined with innovative tailored medication.

Myth: Leukemia and blood cancer are the same

Fact: There are three types of blood cancers- Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma. Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects all white blood cells and prevent them from performing their primary function of fighting infections and these abnormal cells are also found in blood. This is commonly seen in young children under the age of 15.

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system and lymph nodes that mostly affects lymphocytes, a kind of white blood cell. It is typically diagnosed in people between the ages of 15 and 35, as well as those over 50.

Myeloma is cancer that affects the plasma cells, which is a type of white blood cell that produces antibodies to protect the body from infection. The immune system is weakened and prone to infections because of this cancer.

Myth: Blood cancer is caused by anaemia

Fact: Anaemia can occur in people who have blood cancer, although it isn't the reason. Anaemia develops when the body does not create enough healthy red blood cells or haemoglobin to meet its oxygen needs. Fatigue interferes with the normal functioning of the body's organs when RBC and oxygen levels are low. Anaemia can be caused by a number of medical disorders, the most frequent of which is iron deficiency.

Myth: People tend to believe that if they have a family history of cancer, there is little they can do to avoid getting cancer.

Fact: Most individuals with a family history of cancer do not have a higher chance of having cancer, but those with a family history of conditions like Lynch Syndrome or BRCA1/2 mutations do. They need to get themselves checked to look for possible solutions.

Myth: Blood cancer is fatal

Fact: Treatment success rates for blood cancer are dramatically improving, and patients are living longer than ever before. Thanks to countless centres working in cutting-edge research. There are currently a variety of effective and focused therapeutic agents that have proved effective in treating cancer, such as chemotherapy, radiation, targeted therapy/biologics, bone marrow transplantation, and immunotherapy.

It is strongly recommended to seek medical help for answers to personal queries from a skilled medical professional. Early detection of cancer increases the chances of a complete cure.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2022
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