Hematology is the study of the cause, prognosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases related to blood. Leukemias, lymphomas, and myelomas are among the most common blood cancer malignancies. Hematology includes cancers of the bone marrow, the blood itself, and the lymphatic system, which includes lymph nodes, lymphatic vessels, lymphoid tissue of the digestive tract, tonsils, thymus gland, and spleen. Fortunately, treatment for hematologic issues is emerging. The use of the targeted therapies, immunotherapies and precision medicine has offered and delivered great hope to patients. At Cancer Care Specialists we collaborate directly with multiple academic centers who help ensure that we are delivering up to date and top-notch care to the patients in our communities.
What is leukemia?
Leukemia originates within the bone marrow. The bone marrow is the soft spongy tissue inside our bones. In adults, bone marrow is found mainly in the flat bones, like the pelvis, skull, breastbone, ribs, shoulders, and vertebrae.
The bone marrow is where blood cells are made in a complex biological process called “hematopoiesis.” When a blood cell in the bone marrow changes to become cancerous, it can crowd out other cells and spread to the rest of the body via the bloodstream.
What are the major types of leukemia?
There are four major subtypes of leukemia. Your specific diagnosis depends on how quickly cancer grows and in which blood cell type it originates. Acute types of leukemia affect very young white blood cells and can progress rapidly. Chronic leukemias affect slightly more mature cells and progress more slowly. Lymphocytic leukemias affect white blood cells called lymphocytes, whereas myeloid leukemias affect cells that are destined to become any other type of blood cell.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)
What is lymphoma?
Lymphoma is cancer that begins in the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. The lymphatic system is made up mainly of immune cells called lymphocytes. B-cells and T-cells are the main lymphocytes, and each has a specific function in protecting our bodies from disease.
Lymphoma originates in lymph tissues, which can be found in many parts of the body, including in the lymph nodes, thymus, tonsils, adenoids, spleen, lymphatic vessels, and parts of the digestive system. If you have been diagnosed with lymphoma, your specific symptoms will depend on where your tumor began.
What are the major types of lymphoma?
There are two major sub-types of lymphoma. Your diagnosis depends on the type of cell where cancer originated plus other characteristics of the tumor. Hodgkin lymphoma is characterized by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells, which are named after the researchers who discovered them. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma does not have Reed-Sternberg cells.
What is myeloma?
Myeloma is a blood cancer that begins in immune cells called plasma cells, which are most often found in the bone marrow. Plasma cells are formed from B-cells when they are called on to fight infection. When plasma cells become cancerous, they multiply and begin to crowd out healthy cells and produce abnormal antibodies called M proteins.
What are the major types of myeloma?
There are four major subtypes of myeloma. Diagnosis depends on how localized or spread out cancer has become and where it originated. The most common form of myeloma is multiple myeloma. Over 90% of people with myeloma have multiple myeloma.
Non-cancerous blood disorders
There are also many types of blood disorders that are not cancerous. These include, but are not limited to, anemia, elevated and decreased blood cells (white blood cells and platelets), blood clotting disorders (deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism), bleeding disorders, and iron overload syndromes (specifically hemochromatosis).