28 May What Is Blood Cancer?
What is blood cancer?
Blood cancer is a type of cancer which affects your blood cells.
This means that most types of blood cancer begin in the bone marrow, as that is where blood is created, or the lymph nodes, which are part of the immune system.
What are the three main types of blood cancer?
There are three main types of blood cancer: leukaemia, myeloma, and lymphoma.
Leukaemia causes the bone marrow to produce abnormal white blood cells. This means the body doesn’t have enough normal white blood cells, and can affect blood clotting and the way that oxygen is carried around the body.
Myeloma and lymphoma attack the immune system, affecting the production of white blood cells, which fight infection, and plasma cells, which contain antibodies.
How is blood cancer diagnosed?
Common symptoms of blood cancer can include frequent infections, feeling weak or tired, and feeling pain in your bones or joints. These symptoms can also be found alongside other conditions, but it’s always best to visit your GP if you have any concerns – as only they can determine the cause of your symptoms.
There are a variety of tests which can be used to diagnose blood cancer. These include blood tests, biopsies (of bone marrow and lymph nodes, for example), and different types of scans.
How is blood cancer treated?
Treatments for blood cancer vary from patient to patient, and can depend on the type of blood cancer. Treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biological therapy, or stem cell transplants. Some patients might not need to be treated immediately, if they have a slow-growing form of cancer.