Local July 29, 2022 | 2:33 pm

More than 600 new cases of leukemia are detected here each year.

Hematological diseases represent important challenges for health professionals. /Daily Directory

Santo Domingo, DR.
The classification and early diagnosis of the different types of blood-related cancers is one of the significant challenges facing oncohematology specialists, as this is one of the pathologies that currently afflicts the region the most.

In the Dominican Republic, it is estimated that more than 612 new cases of leukemia, 352 of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and 203 of multiple myeloma are detected yearly.

The subject was presented by specialists in hematology and oncology, among them Dr. Ondina Espinal, president of the Dominican Society of Internal Hematology, who met recently at the scientific congress held in the country, which brought together national and foreign experts organized by Johnson & Johnson.

They emphasized that under the classifications of leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma, hematological diseases represent significant challenges for health professionals, especially if one takes into account that there are more than 100 subtypes, such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia, which is the most common type of hematological malignancy in adults, and multiple myeloma, one of the variants with the highest degree of complexity.

Silence in the primary stage
They explained that blood cancer begins in the tissue that forms the blood, such as bone marrow or in the cells of the immune system, and that, depending on its origin, the level of risk may vary, as well as its characteristics, but that many types of blood cancer are usually silent in the early stages.

As an example, she cited the case of multiple myeloma, whose mortality and incidence rate can reach up to 64%, a proportion that is closely related to the incidence of myeloma, the rate of quality and access to medical care, patient empowerment, access to anticancer drugs, and medical care expenses.

Dr. Espinal pointed out that in the Dominican Republic, the panorama of hematological malignancies shows that much remains to be done and that it is estimated that each year more than 612 new cases of leukemia, 352 of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and 203 multiple myelomas are detected.

A high incidence
During the activity, Dr. Dorotea Fantl, a hematologist and vice-president of the Latin American Multiple Myeloma Study Group, recalled that according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization, in 2020, more than 19 million people in the world developed some cancer. Of this figure, 7.6% corresponds to Latin America and the Caribbean, representing 1,420,000 new cases.

She said that the complexity and heterogeneity of the disease in many cases make diagnosis difficult, which in turn requires multidisciplinary management by hematologists and other specialists depending on the condition to achieve better treatment results.

The specialist pointed out that one of the main challenges surrounding blood cancers is the timely diagnosis since they are usually detected in advanced stages, limiting the field of action when providing treatment.

The congress, which some 100 specialists attended, was attended by leading hematological disease experts from different countries.

White blood cells
In people with leukemia, the bone marrow produces an excessive number of abnormal white blood cells that do not function properly. Treatment for leukemia can be complex, depending on the type of leukemia and other factors. But some strategies and resources can help make therapy successful.

Lymphatic System
Leukemia is cancer of the blood-forming tissues in the body, including the bone marrow and lymphatic system.

There are many types of leukemia. Some forms of leukemia are more common in children. Others occur mainly in adults.

Leukemia usually involves white blood cells.

Fighting power
White blood cells are powerful infection fighters; they usually grow and divide in an organized fashion as the body needs them. But in people with leukemia, the bone marrow produces too many abnormal white blood cells that do not function properly. As a result, treatment for leukemia can be complex, depending on the type of leukemia and other factors.

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