Blood cancers cause problems which prevents blood from performing many of its important functions like clotting and fighting infections. About 176,200 new cases of blood cancers are diagnosed each year…roughly one every three minutes.
There are three types of blood cancers. These are:
- Leukemia – found in blood and bone marrow, this cancer occurs when abnormal white blood cells rapidly reproduce. These cells then restrict the ability to fight infections and produce platelets and red blood cells.
- Lymphoma – affects the lymphatic system. This system is responsible for the removal of excess fluid from the body. It also helps produce immune system cells. Abnormal lymphocytes become lymphoma cells and grow within the lymph nodes, restricting the proper function of the immune system.
- Myeloma – Within the plasma cells of blood, cancerous cells known as myeloma form. These too weaken the immune system by preventing the production of necessary antibodies.
What are the early signs of blood cancer?
- Bleed or bruise easily
- Bone pain or tenderness
- Coughing or chest pain
- Frequent infections
- Fever or chills
- Losing weight for no reason
- Loss of appetite or nausea
- Night sweats
- Persistent fatigue, weakness
- Recurring nosebleeds
- Tiny red spots on skin
- Shortness of breath
- Swollen lymph nodes (neck, armpits, groin)
How long can you live with cancer of the blood?
Survival rates for cancer of the blood are based on large groups of people and do not necessarily represent individual outcomes. These are general statistics, but the time which a patient may survive has much to do with the type of blood cancer, the stage at which it is detected and treated, presence in the groin nodes, fitness level of the patient, and whether there were previous treatments for the same or another cancer.
In general, 70% of patients can expect to survive leukemia 5 years or more after initial diagnosis. These figures decline with age as younger people tend to fare better. The 70% figure represents persons aged 15-24.
Can blood cancer be cured permanently?
Some acute leukemias can be cured with proper treatment, but most cannot. Of course, treatments are improving and there are experimental treatments which offer promise. For instance, some patients with chronic leukemia may qualify for stem cell transplants, which offers a chance of a cure.
How is blood cancer detected?
If a physician suspects a blood cancer, he or she will often start with blood tests and a urinalysis. There may be a biopsy of a suspect area and there are other lab tests which could direct their attention to the source of the symptoms. The most common tests to be conducted include:
- CBC (Complete blood count)
- Blood protein test
- Tumor marker test
- Circulating tumor cell test
Kymera Independent Physicians have been diagnosing and treating blood cancers for 22 years in Southeastern New Mexico. Our Cancer Treatment Center has a lab so that our patients need not make additional trips elsewhere to be fully examined. We even have an imaging center complete with nuclear medicine so that no matter what is needed to diagnose and treat our patients, we can do it all in-house. This save time, but also ensures accuracy of results and better treatments.
If you believe or know you are dealing with a blood cancer, why not request an appointment now using the button below.