Q1. What is blood cancer?

A. Blood cancer is like any other cancer in the body. It is the uncontrolled and abnormal cells in the blood and bone marrow.

Q2. How is blood cancer different from any other cancer of the body?

A. Unlike cancer of the lungs, oral cavity etc. blood cancer severely affects the basic functions of the blood such as transportation of the oxygen and nutrients, immunity against infections etc. It basically affects the entire body at the same time while other forms of cancer take some time to spread.

Q3. How many types of cancer are there?

A. Chronic leukaemia become more common with age. The average age of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is roughly 70 years, and the average age of chronic myelogenous leukaemia (CML) patients is 40 to 50 years old.

Q5. Can you be fully cured of leukaemia?

A. There are more than 100 types of known cancer types.

Q4. What is the most common age to get leukaemia?

A. Acute leukaemia can usually be cured with treatment when started as soon as detected. While chronic leukaemia is unlikely to be cured but it can be managed with symptoms.

Q6. What are the early symptoms of blood cancer?

A. The most common symptoms of the blood cancer include: fever or chills, chronic feeling of fatigue and tiredness, loss of appetite, frequent infections and night sweats.

Q7. Why does the diagnosis seem to delay in most of the cases?

A. Cancer cells multiply literally billions of times before the symptoms start to show. That is why some methods of screening and prevention are important.

Q8. What are normal blood cells and what is their function?

A. Blood is a connective tissue which consists of three basic cells. These are:

  • White Blood Cells: help fighting infections
  • Red Blood Cells: help transporting food and oxygen
  • Platelets: helps in clotting of blood

Also, there is the liquid components which is known as Plasma.

Q8. What is bone marrow?

A. Bone marrow is the soft centre of the bones where blood cells are formed. When these immature blood cells start dividing rapidly it causes the overcrowding of abnormal blood cells as a result of which cancer develops.

Q9. What are the symptoms of childhood blood cancer?

A. A child or young person with blood cancer may:

  • be pale, extremely tired, dizzy and breathless (because of anaemia)
  • get infections easily and find it hard to fight them off
  • have bruising and / or unusual bleeding.
  • feel pain in their tummy, chest, or bones
  • lose weight unexpectedly
  • have swollen glands or swellings in their head, neck, or groin
  • experience drenching night sweats
  • have unexplained itching.

Q10. What should be done in case of any of these symptoms?

A. Since the blood cancer symptoms are quite vague, one should see the doctor if the symptoms are unusual for the person as well as last for a longer time.

Q11. Why are children and young adults most affected by the blood cancer?

A. While specific causes of leukaemia and lymphomas are unknown, blood cancer is generally attributed to genetic causes. It should be kept in mind that there’s nothing a child and his family has done which has led to the development of the cancer.

Q12. Can you suddenly die from leukaemia?

A. Bone marrow failure (infection and haemorrhage) is the most common cause of death in the blood cancer patients. But, sudden death occurring from multiple organ failure is very rare in acute leukaemia.