The majority of the time, red blood cell development is restricted, however, cancer cells divide uncontrollably. These cancer cells interfere with the regular functioning of the cells, preventing them from defending against foreign invaders or forming a clot to halt bleeding. An attempt at an earlier diagnosis should be made as soon as the patient identifies the symptoms. The oncologist must determine the treatment based on the various stages of blood cancer, the patient's age, and his or her tolerance for treatment and adverse effects.
The following are a few of the most prevalent symptoms that can be easily observed:
- Anaemia occurs when the red blood cells in a person's body do not work properly or when the number of blood cells in the body decreases. Shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, pale complexion, and a feeble feeling are all symptoms of anaemia.
- Poor clotting: Because platelet cells aid in the coagulation of wounds, a reduction in platelet count can result in poor clotting. Unusual bruising, bleeding gums, and heavy periods are all possible side effects.
- Infections: Infections that recur frequently should not be overlooked. The diminishing of white blood cells is depicted by this recurrence.
If any of these symptoms are observed, consulting a doctor as soon as possible, is advised.
A complete blood count
This blood test counts the number of different types of blood cells in a sample, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelet cells. This test can detect any abnormalities in the blood cells or their concentration. A bone marrow biopsy could be used to confirm the diagnosis.
1. White blood cells: These cells guard the body against potentially harmful foreign bodies, viruses, and diseases. A white blood cell count that is higher or lower than the normal amount could indicate that the person has blood cancer.
2. Red blood cells: These cells transport oxygen throughout the body, and anaemia is defined as a reduction in the number of RBCs or the concentration of haemoglobin (the red pigment in RBCs). This is not limited to blood cancer; some anticancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, can produce a reduction in red blood cell count. Blood transfusion is usually required after any surgery or therapy that results in blood loss.
3. Platelets: Platelets aid in the coagulation of blood. A reduction in platelet count is caused by blood cancer or other tumours that have spread to the bone marrow.
Biopsy and aspiration of the bone marrow
The procedure of removing a sample of bone marrow for examination is known as bone marrow biopsy or aspiration, with the following differences:
- Bone marrow aspiration is the process of extracting a liquid sample of bone marrow.
- A little amount of bone marrow tissue is removed during a bone marrow biopsy.
It's used to figure out if cancer has spread to the bone marrow, the type of blood cancer, and the disease's stage or severity. This test can detect changes in blood cells that aren't noticed by a complete blood count.
Both tests are carried out simultaneously under physician supervision. The major goal of this test is to discover any DNA abnormalities in the sample and confirm blood malignancies and bone marrow diseases. This is used after anticancer treatments to monitor therapy progress and assess the patient's tolerance.
Lymph node Biopsy
Because blood cancer affects blood cells, it has a significant impact on the immune system. Human immunity is controlled by the lymphatic system. Tonsils, spleen, and lymph nodes are all part of it. There are hundreds of lymph nodes throughout the body that contain white blood cells that fight infections.
When a lymph node biopsy is performed, a small cut is created and the node is removed; the cut is then stitched together. This provides information on the kind, stage, and dissemination of blood cancer.
Lumbar puncture is another name for it. The cerebrospinal fluid is drained from the spine using a tiny needle inserted between the bones in the lower back. Under a microscope, this fluid is studied to discover if the blood malignancy has progressed to the spinal cord.
This test analyses a change in the white blood cell count that could lead to cancer by determining the blood and bone marrow cells. The number and proportion of cells, as well as their properties, are measured using a flow cytometer. This test can also be used to detect cancer that has returned after therapy. The findings can also be used to determine the amount of DNA in blood cells.
This test maps a cell's 46 human chromosomes to determine chromosomal alterations and their order. This test was conducted using the G-banding approach. To make the banding pattern of chromosomal pairs easier to discern, a dye called Giemsa is applied. This examination examines the size, shape, quantity, and arrangement of blood or bone marrow cells for abnormalities. This test can assist the doctor in prescribing drugs and devising treatment plans.