Blood cancers: A quick look

“Blood cancers” is an umbrella term for cancers that affect the blood, bone marrow and lymphatic system. They can affect any of the three main components of blood: Red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. The three main types of blood cancers are leukaemia, lymphoma (Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s) and myeloma.

Types of Cancer

Rank of common blood cancers worldwide in 2018

New cases diagnosed worldwide in 2018

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

11

509,590

Leukaemia

13

437,033

Myeloma

22

159,985

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

26

79,990

Source: World Cancer Research Fund International

1) Myeloma

Affects plasma cells, which are found in the bone marrow and produce antibodies to fight infection.

Main symptoms:

  • Pain in bones
  • Bone fractures
  • Tiredness

2) Leukaemia

Affects white blood cells, which help the body to fight infection.

Main symptoms:

  • Persistent fatigue
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Prolonged fever

3) Lymphoma

Affects the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system that fights infections and diseases. Two types: Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Main symptoms:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes that don’t go away
  • Prolonged fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained itching
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats

 

Treatment options

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Bone marrow transplantation (in more severe cases)
  • Targeted therapy and immunotherapy


Tags: blood cancer, bone marrow, lymphatic system