Types of Blood Cancer: Lymphoma and Myeloma

Blood Cancer Marlton, NJ

Blood cancer can affect many people of all ages and from all walks of life. Seeing a doctor can help determine whether you or a loved one has either lymphoma or myeloma. Understanding each type can help you go through the treatments and deal with the lifestyle changes. Here are the details if you want to know more about these types of blood cancer.

About lymphoma

This is a type of blood cancer that affects a person’s lymphatic system. Lymphoma happens when the lymphocytes suffer significant damage. The injury may turn them into cancerous cells. Then, the lymphocytes will develop and increase at an abnormal rate. The buildup of abnormal lymphocytes results in a weak defense against infections.

The symptoms

Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma are the two types of lymphoma and have similar symptoms. This cancer spreads quickly and each type has different treatments. The first symptom is a painless inflammation in at least one lymph node, which can be found in the groin, neck, or armpit.

A patient with this blood cancer can also feel fatigue, itchiness, fever, and night sweats. Some patients have red patches of skin, bruising, and vision changes. Others have stomach distension, weight loss, and shortness of breath. Challenges in fighting infections may also occur.

The causes

Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that can result from many factors. A weakened immunity because of a medical condition may increase a person’s risk of getting this illness. Taking immunity suppressants after an organ transplant or exposure to toxic chemicals may also lead to this condition. Smoking cigarettes and having a family history of lymphoma can contribute too.

The diagnosis

The doctor will order a physical examination. Feeling any swelling in the neck, groin, or under the arms is part of this exam. The doctor will check the stomach for any swollen vital organs. Asking about the patient’s general health and other symptoms is also necessary.

A biopsy will involve taking a sample of the infected lymph nodes. The doctor will use a general or local anesthetic to perform the biopsy. Another doctor in the lab will examine the samples under a powerful microscope. The type of lymphoma spotted will then be confirmed and classified. The doctor may also order other tests, like X-rays, urine tests, gallium scans, and blood tests.

The treatments

Treating this blood cancer will depend on the stage and type of lymphoma. The patient’s general health, age, past treatments, and preferences also influence the treatments. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are the main treatments for this condition. The doctor may use steroids to enhance the effects of chemotherapy. Targeted therapy, stem cell transplant, and immunotherapy are also viable treatments.

About myeloma

This type of blood cancer arises from plasma cells of the bone marrow. It is also known as multiple myeloma because about 90% of diagnosed patients already have several bone lesions when they receive their diagnosis. Myeloma is present in the plasma cells that are white blood cells.

The symptoms

Some patients may experience bone pain or a discreet bone injury. There could be easy bruising, frequent infections, and heavy nosebleeds. Shortness of breath, fatigue, and confusion may occur. Lab tests may reveal kidney problems and abnormal blood counts.

The causes

The possible causes of this blood cancer are exposure to high levels of radiation or specific chemicals. Some viruses may also increase a person’s risk for this disease. Myeloma is not a hereditary condition, so it is rare for more than one family member to develop this ailment.

The diagnosis

Ordering diagnostic tests, such as blood and urine tests, may be the first thing that the doctor does. Imaging tests, such as X-rays and CT scans, will follow. The doctor will also perform a bone marrow biopsy and aspiration to check the cells from the bone marrow. This will need a local anesthetic. The doctor in the lab will then check the samples under a microscope.

The treatments

The doctor may recommend active monitoring, which involves keeping regular appointments. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and palliative care are common treatments for this blood cancer. Stem cell therapy and plasma exchange can also help.

Understanding the types of blood cancer can help manage the symptoms

Your attending doctor can assess you to confirm what type of blood cancer you may have. Lymphoma and myeloma target the cells produced in the bone marrow. Understanding these cancers can help you manage and even improve your condition. Work with your doctor to create a custom-fit treatment plan for your needs and preferences.

Get more information about Lindenberg Cancer & Hematology Center in Marlton at https://lindenbergcancer.com.

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