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RIYADH – Saudi Arabia uses September’s Blood Cancer Awareness Month to raise awareness about leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and Hodgkin’s disease, support patients affected by blood cancer and raise funds for research, a Saudi oncologist said.

According to a GLOBOCAN 2020 report by the World Health Organization, there were 4,326 new cases of blood cancer in Saudi Arabia, including 1,698 patients who had non-Hodgkin lymphoma, 1,676 patients who had leukemia, 687 patients who had Hodgkin lymphoma and 265 who had multiple myeloma were found.

Speaking to Arab News, Dr. Ayman Al-Hejazi, Assistant Professor of Hematology and Oncology at King Saudi bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences in Riyadh: “Blood cancer awareness is becoming increasingly important in Saudi Arabia. There are three main types of blood and bone marrow cancer: leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

“In addition to the malignant nature of the disease, blood cancer treatments and treatments impact patients and caregivers financially and emotionally. People living with some form of blood cancer are impaired in their ability to carry out daily activities. One of the powerful emotional impacts on people living with the disease is concern for their future, their treatment and the possibility of a relapse.”

He believes that blood cancer awareness is relatively low around the world.

Al-Hejazi, who also directs the Saudi Adult Hematology Fellowship Training Program at King Abdulaziz Medical City and serves as program director, told Arab News: “Awareness is important and I believe the government of Saudi Arabia has made tremendous contributions to rearing.” accomplishes through various programs and initiatives.

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“However, I equally believe in the importance of collaboration between governments, healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical companies that offer innovative treatments to develop the most efficient treatment strategies, disease management approaches and, most importantly, follow-up plans designed to extend patient life expectancy. remission.”

He said at least nine major national cancer centers are treating patients in Saudi Arabia.

All types of blood cancer affect patients at different levels, and raising awareness of early cancer detection and treatment can save many lives and improve the quality of life for those undergoing treatment, in remission or in the final stages of recovery, and for those undergoing repeated therapies.

dr Ayman Al-Hejazi, Assistant Professor of Hematology and Oncology, King Saudi bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences

While the kingdom is considered a high-income country, cancer drug shortages remain a major challenge in Saudi Arabia and other developed countries.

“One of the solutions to this challenge would be to focus on treatments and disease management strategies that prolong periods of remission and optimize medication use. Novel agents, as well as the introduction of more convenient initiatives such as the on-body drug delivery systems for cancer therapeutics, can reduce the overall cost of the disease,” the oncologist said.

Al-Hejazi spoke about the different types of blood cancers affecting people in the kingdom: “All types of blood cancers affect patients at different levels and raising awareness about early cancer detection and treatment can save many lives and improve the quality of life for.” those undergoing treatment, in remission or in the final stages of recovery, as well as for those undergoing repeat therapies.

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“All types of blood cancer are dangerous and patients in the UK are often diagnosed with all types. Multiple myeloma is considered the second most common hematologic malignancy,” he added.

Multiple myeloma — most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 65 and 74 — is a cancer of plasma cells, which are types of white blood cells found in the bone marrow. In the UK, however, many cases are detected at a younger age, with less than 7 per cent of the population being over the age of 65.

Regarding common symptoms and diagnostic strategies in different stages of blood cancer, the oncologist said that some of the common symptoms of blood cancer are weight loss, bruising or bleeding, lumps or swelling, shortness of breath, drenched night sweats, persistent, recurring or severe infections, and high fever. Symptoms of multiple myeloma can also include persistent or recurrent bone pain, fractures, persistent fatigue due to anemia or kidney failure, and nervous system disorders.

Initial blood cancer diagnoses can include a complete blood count test, which measures the amount of each type of blood cell in a sample, and a bone marrow biopsy to confirm multiple myeloma, Al-Hejazi said.

Initial treatments will likely involve a formula of different drugs. Chemotherapy is often seen as the only treatment option, but a range of cancer medicines are also available in the UK.

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A majority of people newly diagnosed with blood cancer receive emotional support and care from family, but many patients still feel isolated even when surrounded by relatives and turn to the internet for help said Al-Hejazi.

Family members are more likely to provide multiple types of care, e.g. B. by helping the patient with his general housework. Caregivers can often be heavily influenced by their role, affecting them psychologically, socially, and financially. Meanwhile, cancer patients can develop mental illnesses, most commonly suffering from depression and anxiety.

However, the most important goal should be to extend progression-free periods, with the ultimate treatment goal for multiple myeloma being to minimize the economic burden on patients and caregivers, Al-Hejazi said.

The term blood cancer is a general description of various types of hematopoietic cancer. Our blood flows through blood vessels to deliver nutrients to all tissues in the body.

In about five liters of blood circulating in our body are billions of blood cells that perform various vital functions. All blood cells are derived from hematopoietic stem cells.

Hematopoietic stem cells are called mother cells and are able to regenerate and replace other dying cells.

Blood cancer is an abnormal growth of cells in the bone marrow, particularly white blood cells. Cancer cells flood the blood and crowd out healthy cells.

As a result, the blood can no longer perform its basic tasks, such as transporting oxygen and protecting the body from infection.

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