Blood cancer, a serious condition affecting the blood, bone marrow, and lymphatic system, often reveals itself through various signs and symptoms. These symptoms might seem common or harmless at first, but they can indicate a deeper health issue like blood cancer. It’s essential to understand these signs to seek timely medical help if needed.
Unusual Bleeding or Bruising
One of the major signs of blood cancer is unusual bleeding or bruising. This happens because the cancer affects the blood’s ability to clot. As a result, you might notice frequent nosebleeds, bleeding gums, or excessive bruising from minor bumps or injuries. In women, heavy or irregular menstrual bleeding can also occur.
Persistent Fatigue and Weakness
Persistent fatigue is another common symptom of blood cancer. Unlike normal tiredness that goes away with rest, this fatigue feels overwhelming and doesn’t improve with sleep. You might feel weak, tired, or exhausted without any apparent reason. This occurs because blood cancer disrupts the normal production of blood cells, leading to anemia, which in turn causes fatigue.
Fever and Infections
Frequent infections and fever are common in people with blood cancer. Since cancer affects the immune system’s ability to fight infections, you might find yourself getting sick more often. These infections can be more severe and last longer than usual. Fevers might occur without any known cause and can be a sign that your body is fighting an unseen infection.
Swollen Lymph Nodes
Swollen lymph nodes, particularly in the neck, armpits, or groin, can be a sign of blood cancer. The lymph nodes swell because the cancer cells can accumulate in these areas. These swellings are usually painless and might feel like firm, rubbery lumps under your skin.
Unintended Weight Loss
Unexpected weight loss, without changes in diet or exercise, can be a sign of blood cancer. The cancer can cause a high metabolic rate, leading to weight loss. Additionally, the disease can affect your appetite, making you eat less than usual.
Shortness of Breath or Coughing
Shortness of breath and coughing can occur in blood cancer, especially when the disease affects the lungs or causes high levels of certain blood cells. You might experience difficulty breathing during everyday activities or even while resting.
Bone Pain and Tenderness
Blood cancer can cause bone pain and tenderness, particularly in the ribs and spine. This pain is often a result of cancer cells accumulating in the bone marrow, which creates pressure and discomfort.
Experiencing heavy sweating at night, often to the point of drenching your bedclothes, can be a sign of blood cancer. Night sweats are usually more severe than the occasional mild sweating some people experience during sleep.
These signs, while potentially indicative of blood cancer, can also be caused by less serious conditions. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, particularly if they persist or worsen, you must see your doctor for a proper evaluation. Early detection and treatment of blood cancer can significantly improve the effectiveness of treatment and the overall prognosis.