September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month. Blood cancers include leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Every 3 minutes in a person in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer, affecting adults and children. 36% of the diagnosed are leukemia, 47% are lymphoma and 18% are myeloma. There are few, hard to spot warning signs for this type of cancer. These include no appetite, extreme thirst and itchy skin. Blood cancers start in the marrow of the blood, which is where the white blood cells are made to help fight off infection and disease. Each of these cancers affects the blood stream and white blood count in its own way.
Leukemia: This cancer begins in the blood and bone marrow in the body. This type of cancer overloads the blood stream, by making too many white blood cells. It forces the body to not make enough red blood cells and platelets, due to the high amount of white blood cells in the stream.
Lymphoma: This type of cancer begins in a person’s lymph nodes, which include locations of the armpit, groin and neck. When the cancer cells build up in lymph nodes, it reduces the white blood cell count and forces a patient’s immune system to shut down.
Myeloma: This type of cancer affects plasma cells, which help fight off disease in the body. The location of this cancer is in the blood and pee of a person, and sometimes can even eat away at bone or damage the kidneys.
Blood cancer can be avoided by staying healthy, through exercise, eating more veggies and fruits and not using tobacco.
Here at the Windom Area Hospital, we have Onocology/Hematology outreach services. If you would like to schedule an appointment, call 507-831-0670.
Multiple Myeloma, Lymphoma, and Leukemia: How They Differ. https://www.webmd.com/cancer/myeloma-lymphoma-leukemia#1 accessed July 13, 2018