On the 18th of October 2020, the nation lost a bright star and a young leader. Chisom Chukwuneke who was only 17 years old died from blood cancer in South Africa. The bright star was indeed a huge treasure to her family and her school. Recall that Chisom had graduated from secondary school in 2019 with 7As in her WASSCE exams.
The deceased passed away in South Africa after a prolonged battle with the ailment, blood cancer. Blood cancer is a cancer of blood forming tissues that hinders the blood’s ability to fight infections. Blood cancer starts from the bone marrow where the blood is produced.
There are three main types of blood cancers; leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. The most common which most people know is leukemia. Leukemia occurs when the body produces too many white blood cells preventing the bone marrow from making red blood cells and platelets. Leukemia originates in the blood and bone marrow. Lymphoma is divided into non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Hodgkin lymphoma, both cancers form from the lymphocytes. Multiple myeloma starts in the plasma cells which is made in the bone marrow.
What symptoms does one have to look out for when it comes to blood cancer? Some of the symptoms include;
· Swollen lymph nodes
· Skin rash
· Weakness and fatigue
· Weight loss
· Shortness of breath
· Bone or joint pain (remember Chisom’s father said it all started from leg pain)
· Chest pain
Some of the tests doctors use in diagnosing blood cancer are;
· Surgical lymph node removal
· Blood tests
· Bone marrow examination
· Physical examination
· CT scan, PET scan and x-ray
Blood cancer can be treated if it is discovered early enough. Some of the treatment or therapy options for blood cancer include;
· Chemotherapy: chemotherapy helps to stop the further growth of the cancer cells. Chemotherapy is usually given alongside drugs and it is also done before stem cell transplant.
· Stem cell transplant: stem cell is collected from a healthy bone marrow and it is infused into the body. Stem cell is usually collected from the patient’s close relation like father, mother and siblings.
· Radiation therapy: this method involves using radioactive rays to destroy the cancer cells and reduce pain.
It is indeed very sad that we lost such a gem to the hands of cancer. We pray that her soul finds rest and that her family finds comfort in this difficult time. Chisom is set to be laid to rest on the 1st of December 2020 in Okpuno village, Umuogali, Oba, Idemili South Anambra State.
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