Blood cancer - Medic Quotes
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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Blood cancer

Blood cancer or leukemia is cancer that attacks white blood cells. White blood cells are blood cells that function to protect the body against foreign objects or diseases. These white blood cells are produced by the spinal cord.

Under normal conditions, white blood cells will develop regularly when the body needs it to eradicate emerging infections. But it is different from blood cancer sufferers. The bone marrow will produce abnormal white blood cells, cannot function properly, and excessively. Excessive amounts will result in accumulation in the bone marrow so that healthy blood cells will decrease.

In addition to accumulating, these abnormal cells can also spread to other organs, such as the liver, spleen, lungs, kidneys, even to the brain and spine.

Types of Blood Cancer

There are various types of blood cancer. Based on the speed of its development, this cancer can be classified into acute and chronic.

Acute blood cancer develops rapidly due to the addition of abnormal white blood cells or immature cells that cannot function normally. This growth is so rapid that even the spread into the bloodstream. This type must be dealt with immediately. If left unchecked, the body will lack oxygen and the body's immunity to disease or infection decreases.

Meanwhile, chronic blood cancer develops slowly and in the long run. White blood cells that should have died will stay alive and accumulate in the bloodstream, bone marrow, and other related organs. These cells are more mature so they can function properly for a few moments. Therefore, the symptoms tend not to be felt immediately so they are diagnosed after years.

Blood cancer can also be categorized according to the type of white blood cells that are attacked. Cancer of the blood that attacks lymph cells known as lymphatic leukemia and which attacks myeloid cells is called mielogen leukemia.

Based on the two groupings above, there are four types of blood cancer that occur most often. The following is an explanation for each type.

Acute lymphocytic leukemia or acute lymphocytic leukemia ( ALL)

ALL can inhibit lymphocyte function so that sufferers have the potential to experience serious infections. This blood cancer is generally suffered by children, but can also attack adults. 

Acute myelogenous leukemia ( AML)

This is a type of blood cancer that generally attacks adults. But AML can also be suffered by children and adolescents. This cancer will form incomplete myeloid cells and can clog arteries. 

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia or chronic lymphocytic leukemia ( CLL)

This type of blood cancer is only experienced by adults. CLL is generally only detected at an advanced stage because patients tend not to feel the symptoms for a long time. 

Chronic myelogenous leukemia ( CML)

This type of blood cancer mostly affects people over the age of 20 years. CML has two stages. In the first stage, abnormal cells will develop slowly. When entering the second stage, the number of abnormal cells will increase rapidly so that it will decrease dramatically.

In general, blood cancer or leukemia involves the bone marrow which is the place for making white blood cells. Cells that are generally effective at eradicating this infection grow abnormally so that eventually the body's immunity does not function optimally.

Symptoms of Blood Cancer

Symptoms of blood cancer are very diverse. Each sufferer usually experiences different indications, depending on the type of blood cancer that he has.

Indications of this cancer also tend to be difficult to recognize because they tend to be similar to other conditions, such as the flu. Therefore, we need to be aware of common symptoms that do not improve or subside, such as:

  • Continuous fatigue or fatigue.
  • Fever.
  • Shivering.
  • Headache.
  • Throws up.
  • Excessive sweating, especially at night.
  • Pain in bones or joints.
  • Weight loss.
  • Swelling of the spleen, liver, or spleen.
  • Severe or frequent infections appear.
  • Easily experience bleeding (eg frequent nosebleeds ) or bruising.
  • Red spots appear on the skin.

If you or your child experience the above symptoms, contact and consult a doctor immediately. Especially for symptoms that often relapse or don't improve.

Causes and Blood Cancer Risk Factors

The basic cause of blood cancer is not certain. However, it is suspected that the mutation of DNA in white blood cells causes changes in the action of each cell. In addition, other changes in white blood cells due to gene and environmental factors are also thought to contribute to leukemia.

Factors suspected of increasing blood cancer risk include:

  • Heredity or genetics. Patients with their own syndrome or other rare genetic disorders increase the risk of experiencing acute leukemia. While chronic lymphatic leukemia is often inherited in the family and is usually experienced by men. In addition, a family history of leukemia can also increase the risk of experiencing the same disease.
  • I have had cancer treatment. Certain chemotherapy or radiotherapy is thought to trigger blood cancer.
  • Have experienced exposure to high levels of radiation or certain chemicals. For example, people who have been involved in accidents related to nuclear reactors or experience exposure to chemicals such as benzene.
  • Smoking Cigarettes will not only increase the risk of blood cancer (especially acute myelogenous leukemia) but also various other diseases.

Even so, most people with high risk above do not experience leukemia. On the other hand, people with leukemia are often found precisely in people who do not have these risks.

Blood Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

At the initial stage, the doctor will ask for symptoms before checking your physical condition. On a physical examination, the doctor will look for some signs of leukemia such as pale skin due to anemia, swollen lymph nodes, and enlarged liver and spleen.

If your doctor suspects that you have cancer of the blood, your doctor will recommend a more detailed examination that includes a blood test and a bone marrow biopsy.

On a blood test, the doctor will look for abnormalities of the number of white blood cells or platelets. Leukemia sufferers generally have much higher levels of white blood cells than normal.

In addition, your doctor may advise you to do a spinal cord test. On this examination, the doctor will use a long thin needle to take a sample of your spinal cord tissue. These tissue samples will then be examined further in the laboratory to show the type of blood cancer you are experiencing and the most appropriate treatment options.

Blood Cancer Treatment

After a positive blood cancer diagnosis, the doctor will discuss the appropriate treatment steps. The type of treatment you are going to take depends on your age, your health condition, and the type or stage of cancer that you are suffering from.  

The following are treatment methods that are generally recommended to treat blood cancer, including:

  • Chemotherapy is the most common treatment choice for cases of leukemia. Chemotherapy treatment uses chemicals to kill blood cancer cells.
  • Radiotherapy. This treatment technique uses X-rays to destroy and inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Radiotherapy can be done only in certain areas of cancer, or throughout the body, depending on your condition. Radiotherapy can also be done in preparation for stem cell transplantation.
  • Stem cell transplantation to replace damaged bone marrow with healthy ones. The stem cells used can come from your own body or other people's bodies as donors. Chemotherapy or radiotherapy will usually be done as a preparation step before undergoing this transplant procedure.
  • Focused therapy to attack vulnerable parts of cancer cells.
  • Biological therapy to help the immune system recognize and attack cancer cells.
  • Watchful waiting. This is intended for people with chronic lymphatic leukemia. In this therapy, careful observation is carried out to see the progress of the disease. This therapy can also be done if someone has been proven to have chronic lymphatic leukemia, but does not experience symptoms that indicate the disease.

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