Blood Cancer - Symptoms & Causes

Blood cancer is a broad term encompassing various cancers that affect the cells produced in your bone marrow. These cancers disrupt the normal production of healthy blood cells, leading to imbalances that can cause symptoms like fatigue, infections, and bleeding. There are different types of blood cancers, each with its own characteristics.

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Blood Cancer Symptoms

Blood cancer can manifest through a variety of symptoms, some of which are subtle and easily overlooked. Being aware of these signs is essential for early detection and timely intervention.

Blood cancer symptoms may include:

  • Persistent Fatigue and Weakness:

This goes beyond normal tiredness and could indicate anaemia.

  • Unexplained Fever, Chills, and Night Sweats:

These symptoms may signal underlying infections due to a weakened immune system.

  • Loss of Appetite and Unexplained Weight Loss:

 These could be related to an enlarged spleen or other internal changes.

  • Bone and Joint Pain:

Aches in these areas can suggest the spread of cancerous cells.

  • Abdominal Discomfort:

 This is often a result of spleen or liver enlargement.

  • Shortness of Breath and Headaches:

These are possible signs of anaemia.

  • Frequent or Severe Infections:

These are indicative of a compromised ability to fight infections.

  • Itchy Skin, Rash, or Unusual Paleness:

Skin changes can be subtle indicators of internal issues.

  • Swollen, Painless Lymph Nodes: 

These commonly occur in the neck, underarms, or groin.

  • Unexplained Bruising or Bleeding: 

This is a sign of reduced platelet count, crucial for blood clotting.

Changes in your body's normal functioning deserve attention, and it's always better to seek medical advice for any persistent or unusual signs.

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Blood Cancer Causes & Risk Factors

Specific blood cancer causes and risk factors vary depending on the type of disease. Understanding these can help you advocate for early blood cancer tests and screenings.

Multiple Myeloma

In the case of multiple myeloma, certain factors heighten the risk:

  • Age-Related Risks:

Older adults are more commonly affected.

  • Gender Dynamics:

Men are at a higher risk than women.

  • Body Weight:

Obesity or being overweight can contribute to developing this cancer.


Acute Myeloid Leukaemia

AML has its own set of risk factors:

  • Age Factor:

Increasing age is a significant risk factor.

  • Smoking:

This increases the likelihood of developing AML.

  • Chemical Exposure:

Industrial chemicals like benzene are linked to AML.

  • Radiation Exposure:

High radiation levels can elevate the risk.

  • Previous Cancer Treatments:

Past treatments can influence the risk of AML.

  • Gender Influence:

Males are more prone to this type of leukaemia.

  • Prior Blood Cancer History:

A history of blood cancers can lead to AML.


Hodgkin Lymphoma

Several factors contribute to the risk of Hodgkin lymphoma:

  • Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) History:

Having had EBV infections increases the risk.

  • Gender:

Males are at higher risk.

  • Family History:

Genetic links play a role in Hodgkin lymphoma.

  • Immune System Health:

Those with weakened immune systems are more susceptible.


Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

For non-Hodgkin lymphoma, risk factors include:

  • Chemical and Radiation Exposure:

These environmental factors are significant.

  • History of Autoimmune Diseases:

Conditions like lupus can increase risk.

  • Previous Chemotherapy:

Past cancer treatments can be a contributing factor.

  • Immune System Status:

A compromised immune system heightens the risk.


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