Sep 17, 2019 11:00 AM


September is Blood Cancer Awareness month. A diagnosis of blood cancer occurs roughly every 3 minutes in the United States.  This type of cancer affects millions of families and individuals. We hope the information listed below can help provide more information about these types of cancers.

Types of Blood Cancers

There are three main types of blood cancers:

  • Leukemia is a cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many blood cells or abnormal blood cells. There are many different types of leukemia. In acute leukemia, the cancer grows fast, and in chronic leukemia the cancer grows slow. Some leukemias start in blood cells called myeloid cells, while others start in lymphoid blood cells.
  • In lymphoma, cancer cells form in the lymph system. Often lymphomas are separated into Hodgkin lymphoma or non-Hodgkin lymphoma. There are two types of adult Hodgkin lymphoma: classical and nodular lymphocyte-predominant. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma can begin in cells called B-lymphocytes, T lymphocytes, or natural killer cells.  
  • Multiple myeloma cells are abnormal plasma cells (a type of white blood cell) that build up in the bone marrow. They can form tumors in many bones of the body. Multiple myeloma cells also damage and weaken bones. Normal plasma cells make antibodies to help the body fight infection and disease. As the number of multiple myeloma cells increases, the body makes more antibodies. This can make the blood thicken and keep the bone marrow from making enough healthy blood cells.
blood cells

Signs of Blood Cancers

Blood cancers may have several symptoms. Here are some signs that could indicate a blood disorder or blood cancer.

  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Weakness or tiredness
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Pain in bones or stomach

Many other health concerns can also cause these signs.  If you are worried you may have cancer, it is important to talk with your doctor. They can talk to you about your concerns and help answer your questions and run tests if needed.

Risk Factors

Each blood cancer has different risk factors. It is important to talk with your doctor about your lifestyle and family history to find out if you are at an increased risk for getting cancer. You can make some lifestyle choices that help lower your risk.

Here are six ways you can help lower your risk of developing cancer:

Avoid Tobacco
Be Physically Active
Eat Healthy
Get the HPV Vaccine
Protect Your Skin
Test for Radon

Treatment

If you or a loved one are diagnosed with a blood cancer, you can discuss several different treatment options with your doctor. These treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, or stem cell transplants. Not all of these treatment options are available for each type of blood cancer, and some treatments include a combination of two or more types of therapy.

If you or a loved one has questions about blood cancers, you can contact the G. Mitchell Morris Cancer Learning Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute. Our cancer information specialists are able to help answer cancer questions and provide resources.

G. Mitchell Morris Cancer Learning Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute
Phone: 888.424.2100
Live Chat at www.huntsmancancer.org/clc
Text ‘askhci’ to 66746
Email: cancerinfo@hci.utah.edu

leukemia lymphoma multiple myeloma