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Cancer – Bone Marrow

Sanjay Juneja, MD Sanjay Juneja, MD February 1, 2021
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Transcript

"What is bone marrow? If you were buying a chicken bone, right? And you look in the middle of that chicken bone, you see that kind of like red, brown stuff in the middle? That is bone marrow, and our bone marrow makes three different things. It makes platelets that help you clot. So aspirin and Plavix and stuff that you take to reduce your heart disease that works on platelets. It makes the red blood cells, which is generally what you think of with blood, right? The red blood that carries oxygen. Those are red blood cells, they're made by the marrow. And the third thing are white blood cells and or granula sites. And these things basically help you fight infection. Well, leukemia is a problem with your white blood cells. So you all of a sudden start making a colony of white blood cells that are very, very young and somewhere where they're not supposed to be.

And eventually leukemia can grow so much in the bone marrow that that factory, which is your marrow, is not able to produce the things it's supposed to, like the platelets and the red blood cells. So when you get blood work, you see all of a sudden that the platelets are low and you're not sure why or the red blood cells are low. And you're not sure why. And you ask, how have they been feeling this? I've just been really tired lately, or I've lost about seven pounds and I'm not sure why. That's when you do a bone marrow biopsy. It's not just to rule out leukemia if there's any abnormalities and those lines of any kind that you're unsure of why that's the case. You'll do a bone marrow biopsy and look at the actual, like infrastructure of the marrow and see, are all the things there that are supposed to be there. Are there things that aren't supposed to be there like blasts? Is there some scarring, which is called MDS. Those are the things that you can kind of put together when you have abnormalities in your cell lines, just by taking a look in the factory itself, which is the marrow."

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