The Silent Killer: Blood Cancer, Its Types and Treatments, EXPLAINED

by Umair Ahmad Khan

Blood Cancer is one of the most lethal disease in the world right now. It affects the functionality and growth of ones cells and damages silently.

Cancer: Cancer, also called malignancy, is an abnormal growth of cells. There are more than 100 types of cancer, including breast cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and blood cancer. Symptoms vary depending on the type The process of producing blood cells is called haematopoiesis. It makes sure that the correct amount of each type of cell is produced. This is important because different types of blood cells live for different lengths of time and need to be replaced at the end of their life cycle. Also, more of one cell type might be needed at a certain time such as more white blood cells are needed when you have an infection. Haematopoiesis can sometimes go wrong. Cells may be produced in abnormally high numbers, or stay in the blood for an abnormal length of time, or both. When this happens, it results in there being far too many of a certain type of blood cell in the bone marrow or bloodstream, causing serious problems for the patient. This is known as blood cancer.

Blood cancer – its kinds and types:

Primarily, there are three basic types of blood cancer. Each of the variety may also include several variations, but in general this cancer is categorized into the following kinds.

 1. Leukemia: Leukemia is a type of cancer that occurs in the bone marrow (where blood is made), and in the blood itself. There are two different types of leukemia. Each type involves a large number of white blood cells. One type, called lymphocytic leukemia, involves a large number of white blood cells called lymphocytes. The other type, called myelogenous leukemia, involves a large number of white blood cells called granulocytes. White blood cells are important to help our bodies fight infection.

 2. Lymphoma: About half of the blood cancers that occur each year are lymphomas, or cancers of the lymphatic system. This system – composed of lymph nodes in neck, armpits, groin, chest, and abdomen – removes excess fluids from body and produces immune cells. Lymphoma occurs when certain types of white blood cell, called lymphocytes produced in lymph nodes, multiply too quickly and also live longer than they should. These lymphocytes do not work properly. This means that there is a high number of poorly functioning lymphocytes in the bloodstream that cannot protect the body from infection. These eventually replace the essential healthy cells in the blood, i.e. red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

 3. Myeloma: Myeloma cells prevent the normal production of antibodies, leaving body’s immune system weakened and susceptible to infection. The multiplication of myeloma cells also interferes with the normal production and function of red and white blood cells. An abnormally high amount of these dysfunctional antibodies in the bloodstream can cause kidney damage. Additionally, the myeloma cells commonly produce substances that cause bone destruction, leading to bone pain and/or fractures. Myeloma cells are produced in the bone marrow, the soft tissue inside your bones. Sometimes myeloma cells will travel through your blood stream and collect in other bones in your body. Because myeloma frequently occurs at many sites in the bone marrow, it is often referred to as multiple myeloma.


Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy medicines attack cells that are growing and multiplying. Cancer cells are usually actively growing and multiplying, so chemotherapy damages those cells. However, chemotherapy also affects body’s healthy cells that are growing. After the chemotherapy is stopped healthy cells will repair the damage from the chemotherapy and grow normally again.

 Radiation: Radiation is a form of energy. Radiation therapy uses this energy to stop cancer cells from growing and multiplying. Radiation therapy may be used to treat some leukemias and lymphomas. For some diseases such as lymphoma, radiation therapy may be given to specific areas of the body such as the chest or brain. Radiation therapy damages healthy cells along with the cancer cells, and this damage can cause side effects. Most of the body’s healthy cells recover after the therapy is stopped. The side effects the patient may get depend on his radiation dose and the body parts treated.

Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy, a type of targeted therapy, uses antibodies which are special proteins that are designed to attach to the surface of cancer cells to mark cancer cells for the immune system to destroy. These antibodies are made in laboratories and are similar to the natural antibodies everyone makes to fight infection. But instead of fighting infection, these new antibodies are used to fight cancer. They attach to cancer cells and help body’s immune system kill the cancer cells. Unlike chemotherapy, the antibodies are targeted or specific to the cancer cell. As a result, antibody treatments tend to be less toxic and have fewer side effects. Often, though, these are combined with chemotherapy, because the two work together to fight the disease.

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