Understanding Blood Cancers- Dr. Ashish Joshi, Cancer Specialist

Understanding Blood Cancers- Dr. Ashish Joshi, Cancer Specialist

Blood is a 'Circulating Fuel' in our body that ensures uninterrupted supply of Oxygen, Nutrients, Hormones and Antibodies to all the organs in the body engine through a network of veins called as vasculature. The Plasma; a liquid that carries cells, waste, nutrients and other things and the Blood Cells like Red Blood Cells (RBCs), White Blood Cells (WBCs) and Platelets are the two principal constituents of the Blood.

Cancer of the blood is a result of abnormally excessive reproduction of blood cells due to mutations at the genetic level in the body. Such an abnormal production of blood cells can be best explained as 'beyond the optimum' i.e. in higher quantities than what is required by the body to function appropriately. Consequently, these excessive blood cells and their byproducts start accumulating in vital organs like liver, kidneys etc; causing malfunction of the body organs, thereby the whole system. Most of these excessive blood cells are in the immature state of their development and remain so for a longer period of time therefore can not perform the designated function. They are also termed as 'Blasts'. For E.g. immature neutrophills (front line soldiers of the human body) can not protect body from the foreign bacteria / viruses as efficiently as the matured neutrophills.

About 8%-9% of all cancers in India constitute haematological malignancies or blood cancers. Blood cancers are further categorised into Lymphomas, Leukemias and Myelomas. Among haematological malignancies, about 25% of the blood cancers are presented in children in India.

Development of blood cancer is believed to be due to combination of genetic and environmental factors. Exposure to radiation, chemicals like benzene and smoking significantly increase the risk of developing blood cancers. Infections like HIV, Epstein Barr Virus etc also increase the risk of developing blood cancers. Some of the common symptoms of blood cancer include the following.

  • Severe fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Bone & joint pains
  • Anemia (Deficiency of Haemoglobin in the Blood)
  • Swellings of lymph nodes (carriers of WBCs that help body fight infections)
  • Swelling of liver and spleen etc.

Most of these blood cancer remain undiagnosed for a fairly long time as most of the blood cancer progress slowly over the years with an exception of few acute cases like AML or ALL. You will be surprised to know that the treatment offered to some of the chronic blood cancers (those which do not progress fast) is watchful waiting i.e. monitoring the progress of the cancer without any medication as they do not cause harm to patients for years together. Cancer specialists / Oncologists often monitor and correct some of the vital body functions using supportive medications to keep patients healthy. In case of childhood cancers, the cure rate in many of them are extraordinarily encouraging. With a firm commitment of the patients to take treatment without loosing the momentum even for an instance increases the chances of cure manifold.

At Mumbai Oncocare Centre, we have a dedicated team of medical oncologists and haematologists who carry highest qualifications and years of experience in treating blood cancers of all kinds efficiently. We impress upon patients that these cancers are highly curable if diagnosed well to understand the biology of it in details and treated appropriately. This helps us achieve their commitment towards the treatment and prepare them for the best outcomes.

Dr. Ashish Joshi
Director and Consultant Medical Oncologist
Mumbai Oncocare Centre
ashjoshi44@mocindia.co.in
9920767626 / 7506128787
www.mocindia.co.in

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