Blood cancer: Symptoms explained by healthcare professionals
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As with most cancers, blood cancer symptoms can vary considerably depending on the type of malignancy. Acute monocytes leukaemia is among the deadliest, but it is rare compared to leukaemia, multiple myeloma and lymphoma. Avoiding complications from these diseases requires early detection. One telltale sign of blood cancer may include unusual inside the lower eyelid.
The most common warning signs of cancer are unexplained weight loss, unexplained bruising, lumps and swelling.
These occur across various types of cancer, but each disease is likely to produce its own subset of symptoms.
“Not everyone will have the same symptoms,” notes Blood Cancer UK, adding that symptoms often differ across skin tones.
It adds: “Red blood cells carry oxygen around the body. If you don’t have enough red blood cells, you can become anaemic.
“Anaemia can cause tiredness that doesn’t go away with rest or sleep, breathlessness when you’re resting and paleness (pallor)
“Pallor can be seen by pulling down your lower eyelid – the inside will look white or pale pink, rather than dark pink or red.”
The healthy body states that pulling down the lower eyelid is one of the most certain ways to check for pallor in all skin tones.
“Other symptoms of anaemia include feeling faint and headaches,” it adds.
Pallor is a common occurrence in blood cancer patients because their red blood cell count usually drops.
Blood Cancer UK, however, adds that it is “often more immediately noticeable in light skin”.
People with black or brown skin may look greyish and their palms may look paler than usual.
“They might also notice allow in their lips, gums, tongue or nail beds,” adds the health body.
What are the risk factors for blood cancer?
Not all cancers are preventable. A great number of cases are traced back to genetic defects, but avoiding risk factors may help lower your odds.
People exposed to high doses of radiation may be a risk, as this breaks down chemical bonds, and damages DNA cells.
Another risk factor is long-term exposure to high levels of solvents such as benzene – which can cause chromosome changes in bone marrow cells.
These changes in bone marrow – where blood cells are produced – are a common characteristic in human leukaemia cells.
Additional lifestyle behaviours like getting regular exercise and eating healthily may also protect the body.
A balanced diet is the best approach to blood cancer prevention, but an emphasis on vegetables and fruits is recommended.
These dietary sources have potent anticancer properties in the form of antioxidants, which prevent damage from oxidative stress.
It should be noted that these antioxidants should come from food sources, as taking supplements to reduce the risk of cancer may not be effective.
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