Blood Cancer – Causes and Treatment

Blood is a part of the body. Blood has different components sch as red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. The red blood cells (RBC), platelets also called monocytes because it is belong to the “myeloid” group and other white blood cells belong to the “lymphoid” group. Lymphoid cells are affected. Disease progresses quickly. This is most common among children. Blood cancer or Leukemia is actually a group of diseases, each of which impede with the normal functioning of blood cells and progressively weaken the system. Leukemia is classified as either Acute or Chronic. Blood and urine samples may also be tested for various substances, called tumor markers, which may indicate cancer.

Causes

A weakened immune system – this may be a result of drugs that suppress the immune system (such as those used for organ transplants), high doses of radiation (such as in radiotherapy for another cancer), or diseases that affect the immune system (such as HIV).

Contact with a chemical called benzene, one of the chemicals in petrol and a solvent used in the rubber and plastics industry.

Genetic disorders like Fanconi anemia, Schwachman-Diamond syndrome and Down syndrome.

Treatment

In radio immunotherapy, an immunotoxin–a hybrid molecule formed by coupling an antibody molecule to a toxin–is injected into the patient. The antibody locks onto a signature protein the cancerous cells express and delivers the toxic dose to the cancer cells. Because the treatment is precision-guided, adverse effects to the rest of the body are minimized. Preliminary results with the new drug are extremely promising–completely eradicating the human cancer cells grafted to mice.

Your doctor may prescribe medications, sometimes called “growth factors,” that encourage your body to produce more blood cells. Medications are also used to prevent low blood cell counts in people who have a high probability of experiencing complications of cancer treatment. Medications have benefits and risks, so talk to your doctor about the possible side effects of drugs used to boost blood cell counts.

Most people feel confused and overwhelmed when they are told they have leukaemia. It’s a very distressing time both for them and their families. An important part of cancer treatment is learning how to talk about how you are feeling, and getting support with the physical and emotional symptoms you are experiencing.

For more advanced cancer, you can receive extra support, known as palliative care. Doctors and nurses based in hospitals, hospices and pain clinics specialize in providing the support you need, and can also visit you at home.

Many everyday activities put you at risk of cuts and scrapes. A low platelet count makes even minor abrasions serious. A low white blood cell count can turn a small cut into a starting point for a serious infection. Use an electric shaver rather than a razor to avoid nicks. Ask someone else to cut up food in the kitchen. Be gentle when brushing your teeth and blowing your nose.

Biological therapy uses special immune system cells and proteins to stimulate the body’s immune system to kill cancer cells. Biological agents such as interferons, interleukins, monoclonal antibodies, tumor necrosis factors and colony-stimulating factors are natural substances found in the body that help alter the way the immune system reacts to cancer. Researchers are now able to create reproductions of some of these biological agents in laboratories, imitating the natural immune agents. These agents are used to augment the anti-tumor immune response of the patient.

by Corwin Brown

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