Blood cancers are typically the result of excessive reproductions of abnormal white blood cells in the body. These abnormal blood cells prevent the blood from performing its important functions, such as fighting off infections and stopping serious bleeding. More often than not, blood cancers can be life-threatening, especially if left undiagnosed or untreated. Hence, it is crucial to detect a blood cancer early through a cancer screening test in Singapore.
Most people only know about Leukemia as a blood cancer, but did you know that other types of blood cancer exist too? Each of these blood cancers comes from different origins and exhibit varying symptoms. To understand this disease better, let us take a quick look at the most common types of blood cancer, their origins, and symptoms.
Originating in the blood and bone marrow, Leukemia is a type of blood cancer caused by an overproduction of abnormal white blood cells that crowd out the red blood cells and platelets, which are necessary for the body to be healthy. Leukemia is often classified based on the kind of blood cells that it affects (lymphocytic or myeloid) and how quickly it progresses (acute or chronic).
Lymphocytic leukemias often develop in the white blood cells called “lymphocytes,” whereas myeloid leukemias may begin in white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Acute forms of leukemia are fast-growing, while the chronic ones progress more slowly.
The four main types of leukemia are acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
As for the symptoms, patients of leukemia commonly experience fever or chills, constant fatigue, unplanned weight loss, swollen lymph nodes, easy bruising or bleeding, recurrent nosebleeds, excessive night sweats, joint pain or tenderness, and frequent infections.
Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is comprised of a network of tissues and organs that help fight germs and eliminate toxins, waste, and unwanted materials from the body. Lymphoma may affect all the areas of the lymphatic system (e.g. lymph nodes, spleen and bone marrow) as well as the other organs of the body.
There are two main categories of lymphoma: non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Hodgkin lymphoma. Their primary difference lies in the type of lymphocyte that is affected: Hodgkin lymphoma is marked by the presence of an abnormal lymphocyte called “Reed-Sternberg cells,” which are not present in non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The common signs and symptoms of lymphoma include swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin, fever, persistent fatigue, night sweats, unexplained weight loss, itchy skin, and shortness of breath.
Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that originates in the blood’s plasma cells, which are differentiated white blood cells that are important for immune protection. In this blood cancer, abnormal plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow and displace healthy blood cells that help fight infections.
There are two main kinds of multiple myeloma: smoldering multiple myeloma and active multiple myeloma. Smoldering multiple myeloma does not cause any symptoms, while active multiple myeloma triggers several symptoms that are related to the disease.
Signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma vary depending on several factors, but the most common indications of this type of cancer include bone pain in the spine or chest, nausea, loss of appetite, constipation mental confusion, persistent fatigue, sudden weight loss, numbness in the legs, excessive thirst, and frequent infections.
Blood cancers can be life-threatening, but it is highly possible to treat them, especially if they are diagnosed and treated early. Some of the common blood cancer treatments for leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and stem cell transplantation. To ensure effective treatment, seek the help of trusted health experts only.
At International Cancer Specialists, you can put your trust in our team of specialist doctors and nurses. As a cancer treatment centre in Singapore, we provide care and management solutions for many types of cancer, including breast cancer, colorectal cancer, blood cancer and lung cancer treatment. If you need qualified assistance on cancer or a reliable cancer screening test, let us lend you a compassionate hand by reaching out to us via our 24/7 hotline, email, or WhatsApp today.