This month is Blood cancer Awareness month. Blood cancers are cancers of the blood, bone marrow or lymph nodes that affect normal blood cell production or function. Today, nearly 1.3 million people in the United States are living with, or have a form of leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma. Blood cancer can affect anyone, at any time. There is no way to prevent or screen for most blood cancers, so we are focused on finding cures.
Blood cancers form in the bone marrow where blood is made and also in the lymphatic system which protects the body from infections.
Blood cancers account for roughly 10% of new cancer cases in the U.S each year.
The most common cancers found in children are leukemias and account for roughly 30% of all childhood cancers.
Around 58,300 people are expected to die as a result of blood cancer.
Cancer effects the lives on many individuals. It is important to understand the disease and what we can do to improve our chances of beating it.
Below we have compiled a list of important facts about blood cancers
1. Every three minutes, one person is diagnosed with a blood cancer.
-Blood cancers will effect both adults and children. Around 172,910 people will be diagnosed with blood cancer this year. Of these cases, 36% will be diagnosed with leukemia, 48% with a lymphoma and 18% with myeloma.
2. Survival rates have significantly improved in the last 20 years.
- Research throughout the decades have led to improve outcomes for people with blood cancers. The National Institutes if Health stated that nearly 63% of people diagnosed with leukemia live five years or longer. The rate has climbed to 70% for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and 85.9% for Hodgkin lymphoma.
3. Every 9 minutes, someone in the U.S dies from a blood cancer.
- Of the 601,000 people who are expected to die from cancer this year, 58,300 or roughly 9.7% will have been diagnosed with a blood cancer.
4. There is no effective screening tests for the early detection of blood cancers
- Screening tests such as mammograms for breast cancer or colonoscopies can help for early detection and prevention of these cancers. Scientists are still researching ways to prevent or detect all cancers at their earliest stages, but nothing exists for blood cancers at this time. As a result, many people don’t know something is wrong until they experience the symptoms.
5. Warning signs
- Common blood cancer symptoms include:
- Fever, chills
- Persistent fatigue, weakness
- Loss of appetite, nausea
- Unexplained weight loss
- Night sweats
- Bone/joint pain
- Abdominal discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent infections
- Itchy skin or skin rash
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarms or groin
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact a doctor right away.
6. There are three main types of blood cancers
- Leukemia is a type of cancer found in your blood and bone marrow that affects your white blood cells. The most common one found in children is acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and the most common one found in adults is chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
- Myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells, which are a type of white blood cell made in the bone marrow. Myeloma cells prevent the normal production of antibodies which leads your body’s immune system weakened and susceptible to infection.