Bone marrow is a spongy like material which fills the center of the bones. It is responsible for producing red blood cells which are designed to carry oxygen to all parts of the body and white blood cells which are designed to identify bodily threats like bacteria, viruses and other foreign bodies and destroy them. Bone marrow also forms platelets which are essential in causing the blood to clot and stop bleeding from wounds, etc. Bone marrow cancer occurs when cancer cells develop within the bone marrow itself. Since the marrow is directly responsible for producing key components of blood, it can cause several types of bone marrow cancer including leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Treatments for this disease have become much more effective in recent years but it is very important to pay attention to a number of bone marrow cancer symptoms in order to help identify and diagnose the disease in the earliest stages to provide the best and most effective treatment results.
Bone marrow cancer can affect almost anyone but it tends to be the most common type of cancer for younger people. It is not known why this is the case but there are several factors which seem to have a relationship with the incidence of bone marrow cancer. Genetics seems to play a key role. There are several inherited types of conditions which appear to increase the probability of developing this disease. Previous radiation treatments also appear to increase the likelihood of developing the disease. And if someone has received a bone marrow transplant previously, this can put them at higher risk.
In any case there are a number of bone marrow cancer symptoms to be aware of. This can help to make an early diagnosis much easier. So please note the typical and common bone marrow cancer symptoms.
Bone marrow cancers will often cause pain in the bones due to a growth of plasma cells which weaken the bone and cause tiny stress fractures to the ribs and spine. As the cancer cells increase, the bones can become brittle and more susceptible to breakage.
Even relatively simple tasks increase the risk of the bones fracturing. And it can greatly intensify the pain felt in bones which otherwise might have caused a dull ache. In many cases a patient may not notice any other significant bone marrow symptoms until he/she breaks a bone and cancer is identified as part of the x-rays.
Since bone marrow cancer directly affects the production and effectiveness of white blood cells, it can lower the body’s natural resistance to infections. So a patient may suffer from an increase in colds and other viruses. Once an infection has started, it may take much longer for it to improve.
Since bone marrow cancer also affects the production and effectiveness of red blood cells, a common bone marrow cancer symptom is persistent fatigue and shortness of breath. This is because the blood is not nearly as effective in transferring oxygen throughout the body as it used to be.
And another common bone marrow cancer symptom is itching of the skin. There is no specific location for the itching. It is simply present and shows no evidence of a rash or bite which should otherwise cause the feeling.
If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention to help to properly diagnose the cause. A variety of tests including x-rays and biopsy of the bone marrow may be required. If a positive diagnosis is made, there are many new treatments which can be very effective in controlling and even removing all traces of the cancer from the bones.