Over 14,000 Americans are diagnosed with blood cancers monthly. That is why, in 2010, the United States Congress declared September, Blood Cancer Awareness Month. The purpose was to bring attention to the two main blood cancers that people are generally are diagnosed with, lymphoma and leukemia. According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, in addition to leukemia and lymphoma, other blood cancers are myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes, and myeloproliferative neoplasms.
The National Cancer Institute defines blood cancer as, “Cancer that begins in blood-forming tissue, such as the bone marrow, or in the cells of the immune system.” In most blood cancer cases, the symptoms come on slowly and are barely noticeable at first. However, once symptomatic, those symptoms tend to be according to the type of blood cancer one has. For example:
- Leukemia – Symptoms may include pale skin, feeling tired and week, and chest pain due to anemia and poor clotting issues that can lead to unusual bruising, heavy periods, and bleeding gums.
- Lymphoma – Symptoms may include fever, night sweats, and unexplained weight loss.
A blood cancer diagnosis is obtained after a doctor does a battery of examinations that may include a complete blood count (CBC) test, a biopsy of suspected cancerous tissue, an x-ray, CT, MRI, or PET scan, in addition to urine and blood tests. There are treatment options available based on the type and severity of the cancer that may include chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell transplantation, and immunotherapy.
To schedule an annual physical or to discuss your treatment options with a qualified healthcare professional, you may walk-in to any of our convenient Primary Medical Care Center community clinics, or you may schedule an appointment by visiting our website at www.primarymed.com, or call (305)751-1500 for our Miami-Dade clinic, or (954)289-0000 for our Broward clinic.