Blood Cancers: The Facts

Leukaemia

Leukaemias are cancers that affect the blood and bone marrow. Leukaemia starts in the bone marrow where developing blood cells, usually white cells, undergo a malignant change. The cells multiply in an uncontrolled way and crowd the marrow, affecting the body’s ability to make normal blood cells.

Lymphoma

Lymphomas are a type of blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system. Lymphomas occur when developing lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) undergo a malignant change and multiply in an uncontrolled way. Increasing numbers of abnormal lymphocytes, called lymphoma cells accumulate and form collections of cancer cells called tumours in lymph nodes (glands) and other parts of the body. Over time, lymphoma cells replace normal lymphocytes, weakening the immune system’s ability to fight infection.

Myeloma

Myeloma, also known as multiple myeloma, is a cancer of plasma cells. Plasma cells are mature lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, that help fight infection by producing special proteins called antibodies or immunoglobulins.

Blood related disorders

Related blood disorders are rare and varied. All involve defective cells arising from the bone marrow.