Blood Cancer Awareness Month
Traditionally, September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month. Many organizations, during this time, make it their work to raise awareness of the different types of blood cancer, while doing their best to raise money for ongoing research into finding cures.
The Different Blood Cancer Types
Leukemia is most probably the most well-known type of blood cancer. Not many people are aware that there are more types, though. The five most common types of blood cancer are leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNS).
Leukemia is a blood cancer type that affects your white blood cells or leukocytes, as they are also known. These white blood cells are produced in your bone marrow. Leukemia could thus affect not only your blood but your bone marrow as well. [ref]
Lymphoma is a type of leukemia that starts in your lymphocytes. These are the cells in your immune system tasked with fighting off infections. They are found in your bone marrow, thymus, lymph nodes, and in other areas of your body. Lymphoma sees these cells change and they start growing uncontrollably.
There are two types of lymphoma: Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin. The difference between these two types of lymphoma is that they start in different types of cells. [ref]
Myeloma is a type of cancer the starts in plasma cells. The disease typically starts in your bone marrow where the concentration of plasma cells is relatively high. [ref]
Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS)
MDS refers to a group of disorders. They are the result of either malformed blood cells or blood cells that do not work as they should. This is usually the result of something wrong with your bone marrow’s spongy material. The latter is where blood cells are formed. [ref]
Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (MPNS)
These are various types of blood cancers that result due to the production of too many white or red blood cells. Because of this overproduction in blood cells, blood flow issues could result that are associated with different symptoms. [ref]
Nevertheless, as with any illness, early diagnosis, and treatment are important. The earlier patients and doctors may connect the questioning dots, the higher the likelihood of complete eradication of blood cancer if it is already present. Blood cancers are extremely complex and expensive to treat due to the fact that these disorders are of an extremely complicated type, as are the recovery options, and you can do your part by becoming an advocate or by donating to the institutions of interest.