#Throwback Thursday: History of celebrating September as Blood Cancer Awareness Month

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September is Blood Cancer Awareness: Everything you need to know


Every year September is celebrated as Blood Cancer Awareness Month. The main aim to celebrate September as Blood Cancer Awareness month is to raise awareness on lymphoma and leukaemia. Notably, every month around 14,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with Blood Cancer. September was designated as the Blood Cancer Awareness month in the year 2010.

An overview of Blood Cancer

This type of cancer affects the production and function of your blood cells.  Notably, this type of cancer starts with the bone marrow which is the main source of blood production.  The stem cells in your bone marrow mature and develop into three types of blood cells – Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells or platelets. When cancer develops, the growth of cells gets interrupted and other abnormal types of blood cell increase. The various types of cells include – Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma.

There are three types of Blood Cancer Cell

  1. Leukaemia: It is caused due to the rapid production of abnormal blood cells in the bone marrow. It affects the bone marrow’s ability of the production of red blood cells and platelets.
  2. Lymphoma:  It affects the lymphatic system. Notably, the Lymphatic system is responsible for the removal of excess fluid from your body. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cells which are responsible for fighting infections.
  3. Myeloma: This type of blood cancer affects the plasma cells. It affects the growth of plasma which results in a weak immune system

How to detect blood cancer? Signs and symptoms

Blood cancer can affect your blood, bone marrow or lymphatic system. Here is a list of common signs and symptoms:

  • Weakness, Fatigue
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Weight Loss
  • Sweating in during the night
  • Lymph Node Enlargement
  • Bone Pain and Back Pain
  • Headaches along with visual problems
  • Decreased urination and difficulty in urination
  • Bleeding gums

Note:  It is always advisable to see a doctor if you notice any of the above symptoms. Do not jump to a conclusion, go under proper scanning

What can cause Blood Cancer?

The specific cause of Blood cancer in the human being is unknown but here are a few causes that can lead to blood cancer in human beings

ü  Ageing

ü  Family History

ü  Weak Immune System

ü  Certain Infections

What are the treatments available?

The main objective of blood cancer treatment is to eradicate cancer from the body. A few treatments that are given to a cancer patient are as follows:

  1. Chemotherapy
  2. Biological therapy to kill cancers
  3. Bone Marrow Transplantation- This is basically done to replace the damaged and destroyed bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells.

Blood cancer cases in India

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According to Globocan  2012, a report was prepared by World Health Organisation which says that Blood cancer was at number 9  among the top 20 cancers affecting Indians. It affected an estimated 32,000 men and women in the country that year and caused  26,000 deaths.  At an early stage, it could be cured in more than 85 per cent.   But it is important to get it detected at an early stage. Unexplained fever for more than weeks and swelling in the neck and abdomen should not be ignored.

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