What are the signs and symptoms of blood cancer?
Cancers are divided into two types: solid tumor cancers that form tumors and blood (or hematologic) cancers that typically do not form a solid tumor. In recognition of Blood Cancer Awareness Month this month, we take a closer look at the three main types of blood cancer, the signs and symptoms of blood cancer, and what you should do if you or someone you care about is experiencing symptoms of the disease.
There are three major types of blood cancer:
Symptoms of blood cancers can vary widely, depending on the type and stage of blood cancer. Signs and symptoms of blood cancer can include:
- Frequent and/or severe infections
- Bone tenderness and pain
- Fatigue and weakness
- Loss of appetite or nausea
- Unintentional weight loss
- Weakness or numbness in legs
- Swelling of lymph nodes without pain
- Fever or chills
- Night sweats
- Shortness of breath
- Itchy skin
- Excessive thirst
- Confusion or mental fogginess
- Enlarged liver or spleen
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Small red spots on skin called petechiae
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Coughing or chest pain
Symptoms of some early-stage blood cancers can resemble common infections, like cold or flu. If you or someone you care about is experiencing ongoing and concerning symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with a physician.
Recent research suggests that first-degree relatives (parents, siblings or children) of patients diagnosed with blood cancer have a higher risk of developing the same, and sometimes other types of, blood cancer. Additionally, mutations, or changes, in 12 genes are associated with hereditary leukemia syndromes that can be passed from an affected parent to their child, increasing an affected child’s risk of eventually developing the disease.2 Hereditary cancer tests screen for mutations in genes associated with hereditary cancer syndromes that can increase the risk of developing various forms of cancer, including blood cancer.1 The ExpedioTM Hereditary Cancer test is designed to identify adverse mutations associated with hereditary cancer syndromes in individuals with or without a family history of cancer for targeted monitoring and potentially earlier detection of cancers associated with a particular mutation. Click here to learn more about ExpedioTMor contact us with any questions you may have regarding our genetic screenings.1 Sud A, Thomsen H, Sundquist J, et al. Analysis of 153,115 patients with hematological malignancies refines the spectrum of familial risk [published August 8, 2019]. Blood. doi: 10.1182/blood.2019001362.
2MD Anderson Cancer Center. Hereditary leukemia syndromes: What patients and their families should know. https://www.mdanderson.org/cancerwise/hereditary-leukemia-syndromes--what-patients-and- their-families-should-know.h00-159300678.html