Blood Cancer Awareness Month

Did You Know? There are 3 main types of blood cancer

A cancer that starts in the tissue that forms blood. The bone marrow makes abnormal white blood cells which don’t die when they should. They crowd out normal white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This makes it hard for normal blood cells to do their work.

Symptoms include:
• Fever or chills
• Persistent fatigue, weakness
• Frequent or severe infections
• Losing weight without trying
• Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen
• Easy bleeding or bruising
• Recurrent nosebleeds
• Tiny red spots on the skin (petechiae)
• Excessive sweating, especially at night
• Bone pain or tenderness

A cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s germ-fighting network. White blood cells called a lymphocyte develops a genetic mutation, telling the cell to multiply rapidly as well as live when normal cells would die. That causes swelling in the lymph nodes, spleen and liver. There are two main subtypes – Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Symptoms include:
• Painless swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, armpits and groin
• Persistent fatigue, weakness
• Fever
• Unexplained weight loss
• Night sweats
• Shortness of breath
• Itchy skin
• Bone pain
• Stomach pain
• Rash in skin folds
• Cough

Over 580,000 people are diagnosed with lymphoma each year worldwide.

A cancer of the plasma cells. Plasma cells are white blood cells that make antibodies that protect us from infection. In myeloma, the cells grow too much, crowding out normal cells in the bone marrow that make red blood cells, platelets, and other white blood cells. There are three types – multiple myeloma, solitary plasmacytoma and extramedullary plasmacytoma.

Symptoms include:
• Bone pain, especially in back and ribs
• Bones that break easily
• Constipation
• Frequent infections
• Bruising or bleeding easily
• Excessive thirst
• Weakness of the arms or legs
• Excessive fatigue
• Nausea
• Mental fogginess or confusion