Neighbourhood Health Desk: Cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases in the world. It can affect any organ of the body, including blood cells. Symptoms and signs depend upon what part is involved with the disease. Cancer affecting the blood and the lymphatic system is called blood cancer.Blood cancers are classified and sub-typed based on investigations and molecular tests. All these cancers require tailored treatment.As medical science is evolving constantly, newer modalities of treatment like immunotherapy are being developed, which have better results and fewer side effects. Prompt and early diagnosis of these cancers, along with regular treatment by experts increases chance of cure.
Symptoms of blood cancer
Dr Uma Dangi, consultant medical oncologist at Fortis Hospital, Mumbai, says, “Anaemia because of low hemoglobin 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.”Minimum investigations required for diagnosis are a complete blood count, peripheral smear examination, coagulation profile and lymph node excision biopsy.
Understandably, being diagnosed with cancer affects the patient’s mental health too. Moreover, it affects the entire family’s physical and mental health and finances. Encouragement to face challenges and support from family and friends are an integral part of cancer treatment.