What is Blood Cancer?
What is Blood Cancer? Our blood comprises of different cell types which include RBCs (red blood cells for carrying oxygen), platelets (help in the blood clot) and WBCs (white blood cells help in fighting the infections.) They all originally develop from body’s generative stem cells, which possess the potential to transform and develop into any blood cell type as they undergo division and maturation.
But the problems arise in the process wherein differentiation takes place. Abnormal division, growth and uncontrollable development and spread of deteriorated blood cells leads to blood cancer.
The problem of defective division and differentiation often lead to the production of a large number of immature blood cells. They are not capable to perform the correct and proper functioning of the normal cells. At times they can even ‘clog up’ the bone marrow thus preventing other cells to function properly.
Different Types of Blood Cancer
There are 3 major types of blood cancer:
- Leukemia: This affects the bone marrow thus disrupting the circulatory system to produce new blood. Therefore, this cancer develops and spreads in the blood-forming tissue thus reducing and hampering the production process of the blood. Leukemia may be ‘chronic’ or ‘acute’. Chronic conditions progress slowly and do not require intensive blood cancer treatment immediately. Acute conditions are when they develop too fast and need immediate treatment. Four main types of leukemia are acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
- Lymphoma: This severely hampers the functioning of the lymphatic system, thereby disrupting the lymphatic system cells called as lymphocytes. It is one of the varieties of white blood cell that performs strong immunity building. This type of blood cancer is more common than Leukaemia. It includes increased sensitivity to the effects of alcohol consumption.
- Myeloma: This blood cancer forms in the blood’s plasma cell which is another type of white blood cell made in bone marrow of the body.
Causes of Blood Cancer
The exact underlying cause of leukemia is not known, but it might result due to changes in the genetic and environmental factors.
- Leukemia cells when undergo acquired defective mutations in their DNA it results in the abnormal growth of cells and loses the normal functions of typical white blood cells.
- It is not yet understood what causes these mutations to occur. Mostly there is a change in the cells’ DNA which is known as a chromosome translocation. In this one chromosome portion breaks off and gets attaches to another chromosome.
- One translocation which is visible in almost all cases of CML and at times in other types of blood cancer is an exchange of DNA between chromosomes 9 and 22. This result in the formation of Philadelphia chromosome. This creates an oncogene. Oncogene is a cancer-promoting gene called as BCR-ABL. This DNA change is not inherited but can occur during a lifetime of an infected person.
- Generally, Leukaemia is not hereditary, but certain genetic mutations and conditions can be passed along to off-springs.
Also read: Early Signs and Symptoms of Blood Cancer
Prevention From Blood Cancer
- By consuming a healthy balanced nutritious any disease can be reduced.
- Adopting a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet supports the immune system. Thereby patient stay is able to fight back from the disease and stays strong during treatments.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight is equally necessary for any treatment to work effectively.
- Drinking adequate amount of water and daily physical activities, avoiding drugs, alcohol and tobacco increases life span.
- Protect yourself from the sunrays. As they cause skin cells to change and undergo defective mutations. So make use of sunscreen, umbrellas, shades, cover exposed areas and avoiding midday sun protects from sun’s harmful effects.
- Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps. These are just as damaging as natural sunlight.
- Get immunized by vaccination is very important to help you prevent from the development of several disease. Also, pre-existing antibodies shield you from many day to day pathogenic activity.
- Avoid risky behaviours and make use of safe physical intimacy, don’t use shared needles, and get a regular medical check up to prevent yourself from the disease and live a healthy and safe life.