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Blood Cancers

About the Condition

Blood cancers affect the production and function of your blood cells. Most of these cancers start in your bone marrow where blood is produced.

There are three main types of blood cancers:

  • Leukaemia: a type of cancer found in your blood and bone marrow. Caused by the rapid production of abnormal white blood cells which are not able to fight infection
  • Lymphoma: a blood cancer that develops in the lymphatic system from cells called lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight infections.
  • Myeloma: specifically targets your plasma cells. Plasma cells are white blood cells that produce disease- and infection-fighting antibodies in your body. Myeloma cells prevent the normal production of antibodies, leaving your body’s immune system weakened and susceptible to infection.

Treatment and therapy options

Treatment for blood cancer depends on the type of cancer, your age, how fast the cancer is progressing, where the cancer has spread and other factors. Some common blood cancer treatments include:

Stem cell transplantationA stem cell transplant infuses healthy blood-forming stem cells into the body. Stem cells may be collected from the bone marrow, circulating blood and umbilical cord blood.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses anticancer drugs to interfere with and stop the growth of cancer cells in the body. Chemotherapy for blood cancer sometimes involves giving several drugs together in a set regimen. This treatment may also be given before a stem cell transplant.

Radiation therapyRadiation therapy may be used to destroy cancer cells or to relieve pain or discomfort. It may also be given before a stem cell transplant.

Every year, around 40,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with some form of blood cancer, with 250,000 people living with the condition.

 

Blood Cancers Consultants

Key:

Cancer Centre London

Parkside Hospital