September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month. There are three main types of blood cancers: Lymphoma, Leukemia, and Myeloma. There are two main types of Lymphoma: Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. These cancers are also called Hematologic Cancers. Blood cancer begins in the bone marrow, because that’s where blood is produced.
Abnormal blood cells start reproducing and interfere with the normal cells. Each different type of blood cancer has a different cause.
Types of Blood Cancers
Leukemia is caused by the body making too many abnormal white blood cells. This prohibits the body from fighting infection.
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma starts in the lymphatic system. It’s the most common type of blood cancer and 14,000 people are diagnosed each month in the US. When immune cells are damaged or mutate, they grow out of control and crowd the healthy cells. There are dozens of sub-types.
Hodgkin Lymphoma occurs when an abnormal lymphocyte called the Reed-Sternberg cell is present.
Multiple Myeloma begins in the blood plasma cells, a type of white blood cell produced in the bone marrow.
Symptoms of Blood Cancers
- Fever, chills
- Persistent fatigue, weakness
- Loss of appetite, nausea
- Unexplained weight loss
- Night sweats
- Bone/joint pain
- Abdominal discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent infections
- Itchy skin or skin rash
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarms or groin
Treatments include: Chemotherapy, Radiation, and Stem Cell transplantation. The survival rates are better with early detection. Each type and sub-type will have different survival rates. Spreading awareness and increases in research will both enable more of us to fight and survive deadly blood cancers.
If you’re interested in increasing research you can donate HERE to the National Foundation for Cancer Research. To learn more here are some websites that have information and support.
Disclaimer: I’m not a medical expert. This post is not meant to be taken as medical advice. If you have any medical concern, please consult your personal physician.