How cells function in the bone marrow:
Every day a large number of cells die and new cells are formed in our body to replace them. These new blood cells are formed in the bone marrow, which is the soft sponge like tissue constituting the inside of a bone. These originate from a single type of cell called the stem cell that have the unique ability of multiplying into different cells. The stem cells in the bone marrow are hematopoietic cells and have the ability to develop into any of the other types of blood cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
Bone marrow cancer
The most common form of bone marrow cancer is multiple myeloma that causes bone tumors. Leukemia is another type which is commonly known as blood cancer and in this case the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells. In some people, lymphoma, a malignant lymph tissue may start in the bone marrow instead of the lymph nodes.
The cancer formed from the cells in the bone marrow is called Myeloma and the chemical signals passed by the Myeloma cells (called cytokines) stop the stem cells from developing into the different blood cells. This can result in:
- Fewer red blood cells being produced, causing anemia and fatigue.
- Fewer white blood cells being produced, weakening the immune system.
- Lower levels of platelets that increase the risk of bleeding and bruising.
Symptoms of bone marrow cancer
Firstly it is most important to find out whether the cancer is symptomatic or asymptomatic.
- Persistent pain in bones
- Lump on the bones
- Swelling and stiffness of bones
- Shortness of breath
- Low resistance to infections
- Difficulty in walking and moving
- Unexplained bone fractures
- Weight loss
- Weakness and dizziness
Bone marrow cancer stages
Multiple Myeloma is usually divided into 3 stages by doctors, depending upon the condition of the person.
Stage 1 – Patients suffering from multiple myeloma don’t show any symptoms initially as the number of cancer cells in the body is not very high. In the first stage, the number of red blood cells maybe just within or below the required range. Another symptom could be lower level of M protein in the blood and urine.
Stage 2 – The number of cancer cells in the body during this stage is much higher than the first stage. In case the functioning of the kidneys get affected, the prognosis gets worse. This stage patients are those whose symptoms lie neither in the first or third stage.
Stage 3 – This is usually the most harmful and terminal stage of the cancer, wherein the number of cancer cells in the body is very high. Symptoms of this stage include Anemia, Hypercalcemia, bone damage and high levels of M protein in the blood and urine.
There are a number of the types of bone cancers depending upon the size and location of the tumor, therefore the symptoms as well as the treatments vary from one patient to another. Anytime you notice any changes in your health, it is best to consult a doctor immediately. At Apollo Hospitals, we have expert oncologists and a trusted team to help you fight your cancer! Click here to book an appointment with Dr. Padmaja Lokireddy.