Blood Cancer

Blood cancer is an umbrella term for cancers that affects the blood, bone marrow and lymphatic system. There are three main groups of blood cancer:

  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Myeloma
Leukemia

Leukemia affects your white blood cells. These are an important, infection-fighting part of your immune system, made in your bone marrow.
If you have leukemia, you produce an abnormal number of immature white blood cells, which ‘clog up’ your bone marrow and stop it making other blood cells vital for a balanced immune system and healthy blood.

Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that affects your lymphatic system, an important part of your immune system which helps to protect your body from infection and diseases.
If you have lymphoma it means you make too many lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Your lymphocytes also live longer than they should. This overload compromises your immune system.
a) Non-Hodgkin lymphoma- most common.
b) Hodgkin lymphoma- less common.

Myeloma

Myeloma is a blood cancer of plasma cell. Plasma cells are found in your bone marrow and produce antibodies which help fighting infection. In myeloma, unusually large numbers of abnormal plasma cells gather in your bone marrow and stop it producing an important part of your immune system.

Common Symptoms
  • Abdominal pain, especially in the upper abdomen.
  • Bone fracture ( spontaneous or resulting from minimal trauma )
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Liver or glands, such as spleen or lymph nodes
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and chills.
  • Frequent infections.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Night sweats.
  • Unexplained weight loss
Serious Symptoms
  • Bluish coloration of the lips or fingernails.
  • Change in level of consciousness or alertness.
  • Change in mental status or sudden behavior change.
  • Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure, palpitations.
  • High fever.
  • Heart rate.
  • Severe abdominal pain.
  • Uncontrolled or heavy bleeding.
Treatment
  • Biological therapy to attack cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy to attack cancer cells.
  • Radiation therapy to attack cancer cells.
  • Stem cell transplant to provide healthy stem cells that can make healthy blood cells.
  • Antibiotics and other medicaments to reduce likelihood of getting infections.
  • Blood transfusion to temporarily replace blood components.(such as red blood cells or platelets)
  • Surgery to remove an enlarged spleen or to treat bone fracture.