Blood Cancer Treatment in India

Last Modified: June 25, 2020  |   Created on: December 20, 2016
Blood Cancer, Blood Disorder, Cancer Treatment

A 14 to 21-day treatment package for blood cancer may cost anywhere between $6000 to $8000 in India. However, the same package costs around $25000 in the US and $30000 in the UK, Meanwhile, it costs around $15000 for the same treatment in Singapore.

Blood Cancer

Blood cancer treatment cost in India is highly affordable as compared to other developed countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. This is despite the fact that the cost includes boarding, lodging, hospital stay, nursing fees, and the actual medical treatment cost.

Blood cancer treatment cost in India is, in fact, one of the leading factors why so many patients travel to the country to seek medical treatment. Without disappointment, the quality of medical services offered here can be compared to any other country around the world.

The cost can depend on several factors:

  • Treatment procedure
  • Technology used
  • Severity of defect
  • Location
  • Pre- and aftercare
  • Services included

Similarly, the cost of chemotherapy in India that lasts over a period of six months is between $2500 to $3500. This includes the session fees and the cost of chemotherapy drugs. However, the same drugs and treatment cost around $28000 to $30000 in the US, eight to nine times more than what it costs in India. The cost can depend on several factors:

  • Treatment procedure
  • Technology used
  • Severity
  • Location
  • Pre- and aftercare
  • Services included
Blood Cancer TreatmentAverage Cost (USD)
Lymphoma Treatment$7200
Leukemia cancer Treatment$7200
Myeloma treatment$7200

Note: The treatment costs vary from case to case and a specialist review is advised to determine the best procedure/approach for treatment. Several external factors also impact the cost & quality of treatment including the method of treatment, room category, and several other factors. Please contact Lyfboat Care Team for a personalized quote and advise.

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Why people prefer blood cancer treatment in India?

Patients from across the world prefer to visit this country because of several reasons. Some of the reasons to prefer blood cancer treatment in India:

  • Affordable cost of treatment
  • Highly trained medical staff
  • World-class facilities
  • Use of latest technology
  • Quality treatment
  • Extensive imaging facilities
  • Personalized care

Blood cancer treatment is availed by a huge number of patients each year. There are several hospitals in India that offer multiple treatment options and state-of-the-art treatment facilities.

Everything You Need To Know About Blood Cancer

Blood cancer is a type of an umbrella term used to depict the cancer of the lymphatic system, the blood, and the bone marrow. All these components are a part of the human circulatory system, and cancer formation can take place in any of these components. Blood cancer affects thousands of people around the world each year. Its prevalence is particularly high in the UK, wherein more than 70 people are diagnosed with blood cancer each day.

What is blood cancer?

Blood cancer refers to the abnormal cancerous growth in the blood-forming tissues and the actual blood cells. As a result, the ability of the body to fight the pathogens and ward off infections is compromised. It affects the function and production of the blood cells, and a majority of these cancers initiate in the bone marrow, where stem cells are present. A cancer of blood-forming tissues, hindering the body’s ability to fight infection. blood cancer treatment in India The stem cells in the bone marrow develop into three different types of cells, including red blood cells (RBCs), platelets and white blood cells (WBCs). In the case of blood cancer, the normal blood cell development is hindered and as a result, the uncontrolled growth of abnormal blood cells takes place. blood cancer stats These abnormal blood cells circulate in the blood and reduce its quality and function. As a result, some of the important functions of the normal blood cells are lost over a period of time, such as the prevention of bleeding and infection.

How can Lyfboat assist you getting Blood Cancer Treatment in India?

World's Most Trusted Medical Advisory & Discount Platform

Lyfboat is a free advisory platform; we do not charge any fees from patients. In fact, we negotiate the price that Indian hospitals offer. In some cases we are able to reduce the cost by negotiating upto 20% of what Hospitals generally offer. We advise the best treatment from the top hospital/surgeon at best price.

What are the types of blood cancer?

There are primarily three types of blood cancer that can be further classified into several forms. However, these three types are most commonly used in medical terminology:

Leukemia

This type of blood cancer primarily affects the bone marrow or blood. As a result, the ability of the marrow to produce normal blood cells is severely lost in this form of cancer and there are a huge number of abnormal blood cells circulating in the patient’s body. In addition, there is an excess production of abnormal WBCs, which hinders the ability of the body to fight infections. Leukemia occurs when the white blood cells in the bone marrow divide and grow uncontrollably. This hinders the growth or destruction of normal blood cells in the marrow, leaving a person more prone to infection. Types of Leukemia Following are the 4 most common types of leukemia based on the type of cells affected and disease progression:
  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL): This type of leukemia more commony occurs in children. It begins in the immature white blood cells – B or T lymphocytes. These lymphocytes make up the lymphoid tissues, which builds up the immune system of the body.
  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML): It is the most common type of acute leukemia that occurs in the adults. AML is known to progress quickly and may affect any component of the blood. There are further several subtypes of this leukemia.
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL): This type of chronic leukemia accounts for almost a third of leukemia cases. CLL is typically found in older adults. One type of CLL usually progresses slowly and its symptoms may not appear until years after the disease starts. There are other forms of CLL which progress rapidly. It begins in the B lymphocytes, and the abnormal B cells grow and overwhelm the normal while blood cells.
  • Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML): It is a rare type of leukemia and accounts for only 10 percent of all cases of leukemias. It is more commonly found in adults than children. CML occurs due to a genetic change in the myeloid cells that turns them into immature cancer cells. As these cancer cells grow slowly and crowd out the healthy cells in the bone marrow and blood.
Hairy cell leukemia: It is a rare type of leukemia. It is called hairy cell leukemia because of its appearance under the microscope. HCL affects less than 6,000 people each year. In general, the acute leukemia is the type which grows rapidly and becomes severe quickly, while the chronic type progresses slowly and takes longer to advance. The treatment approach or plan for leukemia depends on the type of cancer – whether the disease is acute or chronic, and which white blood cell is affected.

Myeloma

In this type of blood cancer, the plasma cells are affected by cancerous cells. These cells are a variety of WBCs and as a result, the ability of the body to fight infections is compromised because of the inadequate production of antibodies.

Myeloma develops when the abnormal plasma cells (also known as myeloma cells) grow and proliferate in the bone marrow and form tumours in the bones.

These tumors are known as plasmacytomas, and they prevent bone marrow from producing enough amounts of healthy blood cells. A single plasma cell tumor is called isolated plasmacytoma and when there are two or more tumors, the disease is known as multiple myeloma.

Lymphoma

In this type of blood cancer, cells called lymphocytes are affected. These are a type of WBC corpuscles that play an important role in the human immune system. Abnormal production of lymphocytes leads to the accumulation of lymphoma in the lymph nodes and other connective tissues.

Types of Lymphoma

There are two main types of lymphomas, namely Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s. People of any age group can get lymphoma, but:

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: This type of lymphoma most often affect the younger population, between the ages of 15 and 35. Hodgkin’s lymphoma mostly begins in the lymph nodes in the neck or underarm and is known to occur more men than women.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: It typically occurs in people above the age of 60 years. There are many subtypes of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, based on the abnormalities in different types of white blood cells — B cells, T cells, and Natural Killer cells.

The most common forms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that develop in B lymphocytes include:

  • Diffuse large B cell lymphoma – This type progresses quickly.
  • Follicular lymphomas – These are slow-growing cancers.

The two types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that begin in the white blood cells in the skin are mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome.

Blood cancer 2

What are the symptoms of blood cancer?

The blood cancer symptoms are specific to each cancer type. Some of the common symptoms associated with each type of blood cancer are:

Leukemia Symptoms

Symptoms associated with loss of RBCs, including anemia, fatigue, weakness, intense sweating, difficulty breathing and other symptoms such as swelling of lymph nodes and increased risk of contracting infections.

blood cancer leukemia symptoms

Myeloma Symptoms

There can be no symptoms or signs of myeloma initially. However, with time, the patient may fee fatigue, general weakness, shortness of breath, numbness, chest pain and painful back. Problems with the kidney are likely to happen at a later stage.

Lymphoma Symptoms

Swollen lymph nodes (painless) is one of the common symptoms of this type of blood cancer. Decreased hunger, sweating at night, sudden chills and fever are some of the other symptoms.

How to detect blood cancer?

A blood cancer diagnosis is done by the cancer specialist as soon as the patient comes to the doctor with specific symptoms. One of the key symptoms is compromised immunity, following which the doctor orders a few diagnostic tests to get specific information about the condition. As soon as blood cancer is hinted, the patient is referred to a cancer hospital where further testing is conducted. Some of the tests conducted at this stage include complete blood count (CBC), blood protein testing, tumor marker test, and circulating tumor cell tests.

The results of these tests are carefully analyzed by the doctors and all factors that can affect the test results, including diet and body variation, are taken into consideration. The doctor may decide to check whether the results fall within the normal range or they may even compare the results to the tests conducted in the past. Sometimes noncancerous cells may interfere with the test results or in other cases, cancer may still be present and the reports can turn out to be negative. As a result, a careful protocol needs to be followed to make a correct blood cancer diagnosis.

What treatment options are available in India for blood cancer treatment?

The blood cancer treatment option depends on various factors:

  • Type of blood cancer
  • The stage of blood cancer
  • General health
  • Patient age and gender
  • Severity of the symptoms

Doctors choose the most effective course of treatment, tailored according to the needs of the patient.
Some of the common treatment for all types of blood cancer include:

Chemotherapy

This is one of the most common forms of blood cancer treatment that makes use of specific drugs to kill the cancer cells. Chemotherapy helps slow down the progression of cancer or to put it into remission. Chemotherapy is a special treatment, designed to attack cancer cells that grow and multiply faster than healthy cells. Most often, a combination of two or more drugs is used to treat the patient as the combination is more effective in killing cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be used as a standalone therapy or in combination with radiation therapy.Chemotherapy is also required before stem cell transplant to suppress the immune system so that it does not attack the new donor cells. Chemotherapy, in this case, is called conditional therapy.

Radiation Therapy

This type of blood cancer treatment makes use of high-energy X-ray particles to kill cancerous cells. It is a form of targeted therapy that involves the use of an X-ray beam to target cancer cells located in a specific area of the body. Radiation therapy involves the use of a machine called a linear accelerator. This treatment is used to treat some forms of lymphoma and leukemia and also to prepare patients for stem cell transplant as a low dose of radiation suppresses the immune system, so there is no rejection of the donor cells.

Stem Cell Transplantation

This type of blood cancer treatment involves the infusion of healthy blood-forming stem cells into the body of the patient. The infused blood cells can be derived from the healthy bone marrow, circulating blood or umbilical cord blood of the patient or the donor. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy is often conducted before stem cell transplantation to suppress the immune system so that the donor cells are not rejected by the body. In some cases, surgery is conducted to remove a specific organ or tissue. For example, doctors may be prompted to remove spleen from the body of the patient to control the production of abnormal blood cells.

Bone marrow transplants or stem cell transplants can be of two main types:

Autologous Bone marrow transplant: This type of transplant involves collecting the stem cells from the patient’s own body prior to high dose chemotherapy treatment. These healthy stem cells are stored and then re-introduced into the patient’s blood after chemotherapy. This method allows the doctor to use very high doses of chemotherapy to effective eliminate or destroy the blood cancer cells, while preventing (or storing) the healthy stem cells that is later used to rebuild the immune system.

Allogeneic Bone marrow transplant: This is the type of BMT in which the patients receive stem cells isolated from a related or unrelated donor with close genetic match. It is important to test the donor for match to prevent chances of transplant rejection. 

Stem cells transplant using umbilical cord blood is another type of allogeneic transplant. In this, the cord blood rich in stem cells is used for transplantation. The umbilical cord is stored in a stem cell bank when the mother volunteers the preservation of the cord after childbirth.

A bone marrow transplantation process involves harvesting the stem cells from bone marrow of a donor or patient through peripheral blood collection or bone marrow aspiration/surgery. The surgery involves insertion of a needle through the hip bones while the donor is under general anaesthesia. Peripheral blood collection is mostly used now, as it is a simple blood collection process. A machine is used to sort stem cells from other blood cells and the remaining blood is transferred back to the patient’s body. 

Read about Bone Marrow transplant process details, here

CAR-T cell

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is a new innovative type of immunotherapy in which patient’s own genetically modified T cells are to target and kill cancer cells. In this therapy, the patient’s T cells, a type of immune cells, are collected and their genetic component is altered in a laboratory which enables them to identify the cancer cell receptors and attack them. 

A patient has to undergo an extensive evaluation for determining their eligibility for this therapy as it is a highly specialized treatment. 

There are currently two types of CAR T-cell therapy approved by Food & Drug Administration (FDA) that can be used for some leukemia cases.

KYMRIAH: This CAR T-cell therapy is FDA-approved for patients who have 

  • Relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) in adults.
  • Relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in young adult patients up to the age of 25 years.

YESCARTA: This was the first CAR T-cell therapy to be approved by the FDA for adult patients with certain types of B-cell lymphoma. 

The FDA has also approved the use of this therapy for patients who have the following conditions and either do not responded to or have relapsed following the standard line of treatment for these cancers:

  • Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL)
  • Primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma
  • High grade B-cell lymphoma
  • DLBCL that results from follicular lymphoma

Patients who are approved for CAR T-cell therapy will undergo the following stem of the process:

  • Collection of cells: A technique called leukapheresis is used to harvest the white blood cells (including T cells) from the patient’s body.
  • Genetic modification: The collected cells are sent to the manufacturing laboratory, where the T-cells are genetically altered using biotechnology tools to express a specific protein called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) on their surface. This helps identify the targeted cancer cells.
  • Multiplication of modified cells: The genetically modified T cells are allowed to grow in the lab, to increase their number. When sufficient amount of cells have grown, they are frozen and sent to the Cancer Center. This whole process takes about 2 to 3 weeks to complete.
  • Conditioning Chemotherapy: Patients will receive chemotherapy in the meantime, actually a few days prior to the infusion. This therapy is given to improve the ability of the CAR T-cells to expand and multiply in the body.
  • Infusion of CAR T-cells: Patients receive the CAR T cells as infusion that goes directly into their bloodstream as a single infusion, similar to the process of a blood transfusion. This requires a hospital stay for 1-2 weeks after the infusion so that medical team can monitor the patients for any potential side effect.
  • Recovery: The recovery period after a CAR T-cell therapy is about 2 to 3 months, depending on the patient’s condition prior to the treatment and response to the therapy. During this period, patients have to carefully monitored themselves for side effects and treatment response, as it can be severe. 

What are the side effects of blood cancer treatment?

Like any other form of treatment, blood cancer treatment has its side effects too. For example, there is a risk that some amount of normal, healthy cells are also targeted during chemotherapy and radiation therapy. This can result in a number of side effects such as loss of hair, tiredness, and nausea. The severity of blood cancer treatment side effects may depend from person to person and how the body responds to the treatment. In some patients, the side effects could be mild, while in others they could be deliberating. However, all of the side effects disappear within the first few weeks of stopping the treatment. Read more.

How much time is required to recover after blood cancer treatment?

Recovery and follow-up are an important part of any treatment plan, and it is no different in the case of blood cancer treatment. Treatment with chemotherapy and radiation therapy can act as a setback for patients, who suffer both physically and mentally. This further strengthens the need to have a rigorous follow-up plan so that timely recovery can take place. For some patients, it may take months before he or she can return back to a normal routine. But in other patients, recovery is timely and they are usually able to conduct daily activities in a few weeks. The follow-up visits may last over a period of a few months, during which doctors may conduct some routine blood tests, x-rays, and physical exams to check for recovery. In addition, antibiotics may be given for a few times to boost immunity and prevent infections immediately.

Dr. Suneet Singh

Written By Dr. Suneet Singh

Dr. Suneet is a doctor-turned-Hospital Administrator with a rich 12 years plus multi-faceted experience in the field of operations management, Corporate and Public Health Administration. Formerly a practicing doctor, Dr. Suneet holds a post-graduate degree in Hospital and Healthcare management from one of the country's esteemed Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)

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