Here is what you need to know about blood cancer
Cancer, one of the most terrible diseases in the world, can affect any organ of the body, including blood cells. Symptoms and signs depend upon what part is involved with the disease. Dr Ashay Karpe, consultant medical oncologist, haematologist and bone marrow transplant physician at Fortis SL Raheja Hospital, Mumbai, says, “Certain types of blood cancers like acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (especially amongst children), Hodgkin’s lymphoma, etc have very high cure rate -- almost 80 to 90%. Blood cancers like chronic myeloid leukaemia are managed with oral tablets which can be taken at home. Certain high risk cancers require stem cell transplant to achieve better results,” As medical science is evolving constantly, newer modalities of treatment like immunotherapy (besides chemotherapy) are being developed, which have better results and fewer side effects. Early diagnosis of these cancers, along with regular treatment by experts increases the chance of cure. Uma Dangi, consultant medical oncologist at Fortis Hospital, Mumbai, says, “Anaemia because of low haemoglobin can cause fatigue and shortness of breath on exertion. Low platelets can lead to red spots on the skin or bleeding. There is an increased risk of infections which may result in fever. Bone pains, night sweats and weight loss are among other symptoms. Lymphomas may present as swellings in the neck, armpit or groin area. Abdominal Lymph Nodes can cause pain or bloating sensation of the stomach. A complete blood count may yield the diagnosis in some cases.” The minimum investigations required for diagnosis are a complete blood count, peripheral smear examination, coagulation profile and lymph node excision biopsy.