20-4-2021 / Oncology and Cancer
Blood flow is one of the measures that we use to determine liveliness. Blood circulates across our body and passes oxygen and nutrients to all the body cells. It works as the primary barrier of the body against threats and diseases that come from external sources. Thus, it contributes to keeping all these cells safe and alive.
Nothing can make or substitute for blood. That is why blood cancer, wherein the body cannot generate healthy blood cells, could be severe if not detected at the right time.
A type of spongy tissue named stem cells in the bone marrow can develop into a blood cell. As you know, our blood is made of three types of blood cells, and each of them is assigned to do different tasks:
Red blood cells: These cells deliver oxygen to all tissues of the body and organs. They also take carbon dioxide from those tissues and carry it to the lungs. We breathe this carbon dioxide out later.
White blood cells: They fight diseases and infections as a part of the human immune system.
Blood Platelets: Platelets are mainly liable to blood clotting.
These three components flow on the stream of plasma. A stem cell divides, mature, and eventually ends up being one of these three blood cells.
Blood cancer is a functional impairment that affects the process of blood development. It affects the production of the blood cells, which later function abnormally. Generally, the cause of blood cancer is rooted in the bone marrow, where blood cells get produced.
Some specific problems in this process called “differentiation” beget cancer. Because of these problems, stem cells produce immature blood cells unable to do their job properly. Such abnormal blood cell production is called blood cancer.
The stem cell of a bone marrow grows and develops into one of these perfectly functional blood cells. Cancer causes the lymphatic system and bone marrow to create blood cells that deviate from the normal one by their nature and functions.
Depending on their affecting cells and the reasons that derive them, blood cancers can be divided into three major types:
Leukemia: Leukemia is the type of cancer that triggers a rapid and abnormal production of blood cells. It always occurs in the bone marrow. All these abnormal blood cells affect the bone marrow. Hence, it loses its ability to generate healthy platelets and red blood cells.
Lymphoma: It directly affects the lymphatic system. This system is liable to remove additional fluids that produce extra lymphocytes, which are a part of the human immune system, and fights infection. Cancer-affected lymphocytes transform into lymphoma cells, and they swell in lymph nodes and many other issues.
Lymphoma can be classified into two types:
Myeloma: Myeloma impacts the plasma cells, a type of white blood cells, which produces different antibodies that fight diseases in a body. Myeloma makes the generation of plasma cells abnormal and weakens the immune system.
It is good news for blood cancer that the disease is curable, and the curability rate is relatively high. With approaching cancer at the right time with the proper medication and treatment, most patients can be cancer-free completely.
The advancement of the medical sector and years of experiments and researches on the field in the associated field have improved the survival chances of blood cancer patients. The rate of this curability gets even higher when the cancers are of Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin types. The rate of curability for such cancers is 80% and 70%, respectively.
One key fact about blood cancer curability is it entirely depends on the cancer type, the current stage of cancer, and the patient's age. If the disease is still in its primary stage and low in intensity or severity, the probability for its cure rises. So, these are the factors on which the chance of cure for blood cancer depends.
If not curable, still there is a chance for cancer like myeloma or acute lymphocytic leukemia to be controlled effectively, allowing patients to live regular and productive lives for many years.
Still, as long as the cancer is in the context, it would be best to expect the unexpected because there are numerous cases where patients with high risk have survived and continue with their lives for a long time. On the other hand, children with leukemia have died at an early age. Whether a form or type of blood cancer could be cured or not also relies significantly on patients' genetic factors.
Nowadays, for the availability of specific oral medicine, cancers like chronic myelogenous leukemia have become like other chronic diseases as hypertension and diabetes. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which primarily affects children, has achieved an optimum curability rate among such chronic cancers.
The treatment of blood cancers generally aims to eliminate or restrain abnormal cell generation. Thus, the generation of normal blood cells can be facilitated. Such a level of efficacy could be achieved with intensive chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy: In this treatment procedure, medicines like intravenous antibiotics are injected into people's veins. Chemotherapy can be hopefully effective in chronic leukemia treatment. Such treatment can be highly intensive and have manageable, significant, and temporary side effects. Its treatment also requires platelet and blood transfusion.
For the frailer patients, especially the older adults who don't have enough strength to tolerate a curative treatment, palliative can improve the quality of life. Most of these treatments involve mild chemotherapy with supportive medicines.
Stem cell transfusion: It is well known as stem cell transplant. This treatment is offered to a patient when relapsing is more expected or the disease has already returned after successful treatment. In most cases, the prior treatment given was chemotherapy.
This treatment initiates by giving the patient an excessive dose of chemotherapy or radiation exposure to eradicate all the cancer cells simultaneously with the blood formation system.
Then a new blood generation system is developed by infusing blood seed or stem cells. These cells can be collected from a healthy donor or even the patient himself.
Radiation Therapy: This type of therapy is mainly used to eliminate abnormally formed cells or relieve pain or discomfort. Even this step can be followed by stem cell transplantation to get better results.
Cancer in any form is a horrific ordeal. It could be the beginning of a tough fight, but there are numerous examples of people who have won life after a cancer diagnosis. By treating it properly, blood cancer can be cured.
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