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BLOOD CANCER: What You Should Know

Blood Cancer affects the blood cells. This is caused by changes in DNA within blood cells. These changes are most times linked to things that you can’t control so they are not genetic.

The body is made up of cells and these cells are constantly dying and being replaced. This is how the body repairs itself. DNA is a substance within the cell that controls the development and behavior of cells. When something goes wrong, the cell may not develop or die properly, leading to blood cancer.

In blood cancer, abnormal cells multiply and they may stop healthy cells from working normally. This will not allow the blood to do its job of fighting off infections and repairing the body. Here are some brief important things to note.

Some things that may affect the risk of blood cancer include

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Family History
  • Radiation or chemical exposure
  • Some health conditions and treatments

Unlike some other cancers, diet and exercise have little effect on the risk of developing blood cancer. However, a healthy lifestyle will reduce the risk of other diseases.

There are three common  types of blood cancers

  1. Leukemia– this type is found in the blood and bone marrow and affects the white blood cells.
  2. Lymphoma– This begins in the infection-fighting cell called the lymphocytes.
  3. Myeloma– This affects the plasma cells which are a type of white blood cell made in the bone marrow. This cancer prevents the production of antibodies causing a weak immune system,

Each type is different but they can share similar symptoms. Some people may not show symptoms and some symptoms may not mean that you have blood cancer.

  • Swollen, painless lymph nodes in the neck, armpits of groin
  • Fever
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Itchy skin or rash
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Night sweats
  • Weakness and fatigue

Scientists aren’t sure of the cause of blood cancer but you can stay away from factors that can increase the risk of cancer.

  • Avoid exposure to radiation especially during certain treatment procedures.
  • Avoid exposure to chemicals like pesticides and benzene If your occupation causes you to be in contact with these, then take the necessary precaution
  • Avoid smoking or tobacco in every form.

Do your best to stay healthy with regular exercise and a healthy diet. Also, see a doctor and get yourself checked regularly. The importance of a healthy lifestyle can’t be over-emphasized. Take care of yourself and get a good night’s rest. Think about it, if you are too busy to eat and sleep well, you will be forced to do it in the hospital.

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