Blood Cancer Awareness Month- September:
To bring attention to leukemia and lymphoma, Congress in 2010 designated September as Blood CancerAwarenessMonth. These diseases are diagnosed in 14,000 people monthly within the us . But with advances in treatment and technologies yielding earlier and earlier detection, the general five-year relative survival rate for leukemia has quite quadrupled since 1960.
But these statistics are painted in broad strokes and can foster a false sense of security. There are numerous sorts of leukemia and lymphoma whose facts and figures aren't nearly so rosy as, as an example , the promising 86% five-year-survival rate for Hodgkin lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma may be a much more lethal sort of blood cancer, and while the survival rate has grown considerably since the 1990s, approximately 20,140 deaths — 11,450 men and 8,690 women — from this disease will still occur this year. Acute chronic myelocytic leukemia (AML), which itself has several subtypes, all of which affect both blood and bone marrow, is predicted to kill 10,00 in 2018. Patients over 60 tend to not respond well to AML treatment, and therefore the overall five-year survival rate is simply 26%.
Causal agents for both are not entirely understood. While case history can lead both patients and doctors to early and proper diagnoses, leukemia is additionally linked to exposure to high doses of radiation, the chemical benzene, or a very particular gene mutation dubbed the “Philadelphia chromosome.” In a leukemia subtype called chronic myelogenous leukemia, or CML, part of the DNA from one chromosome moves to another chromosome. This change leads to the bone marrow making an enzyme, tyrosine kinase, that causes too many stem cells to become white blood cells.
As to lymphoma, many risk factors are almost like those related to leukemia, including benzene, radiation exposure and case history . But too, previous viral infections like Epstein Barr and hepatitis C can elevate the likelihood of developing the condition.
Several National Foundation for Cancer Research-funded scientists, including Doctors Frederick Alt and Curt Civin, have dedicated their careers to fighting blood cancers.
Alt’s work on a DNA repair mechanism called “non-homologous end joining” highlights a process protecting against translocations, a kind of genetic damage that results in cancers including lymphoma and leukemia. Civin’sbreakthrough discovery of CD34+ lympho-hematopoietic stem-progenitor cells opened new directions in research and accelerated the first successful stem cell therapy that was developed from basic research.
But like any disease, early detection and treatment is vital . Persistent fatigue, night sweats, and unexpected weight loss are all symptoms of lymphoma. But the hallmark of the disease, and therefore the symptom that ought to send an individual to his or her doctor, may be a painless swelling of the lymph nodes within the neck, armpits, and groin. Likewise, fever, chills and weight loss related to leukemia are so general on suggest other, more likely, conditions, but those combined with bone pain, frequent nosebleeds and infections, and tiny red spots on the skin (called petechiae) are a warning of a much more dire situation.
The sooner patients and doctors can connect these dots, the higher the probabilities are that the blood cancer, if indeed present, are often eradicated successfully.
Dr Sunil Kumar
(MBBS, MD oncology)