Cancer Guide: Understanding Blood Cancer & Its Symptoms

Blood production occurs in the bone marrow, and a significant percentage of blood cancers will start here. Also known as hematologic cancers, they occur when there is an uncontrollable growth of abnormal blood cells. It interferes with how healthy blood cells work: fighting off infections and the production of new blood cells.

Generally, there are three main types of blood cancers: lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma. Cure rates for hematologic malignancies vary to the kind, with others being incurable. For instance, incurable cancers include myeloma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, but a patient can live for decades without necessarily requiring treatment procedures.

Signs and Symptoms of Hematologic Cancers

Depending on cancer, symptoms may manifest immediately, while others slowly progress without any symptoms at all. The difference comes in the difference between the type of cells they affect, the rate at which they develop, and how far they spread in the body.

In most cases, patients tend to mistake blood cancer symptoms with those of flu or a severe cold. Typical symptoms of blood cancers include:

  • • Fatigue and weakness
  • • Weight loss
  • • Fever and chills. it can also be associated with persistent infections
  • • Swollen lymph nodes
  • • Headaches associated with visual difficulties
  • • Persistent nausea and drastic loss of appetite

Diagnosis and Staging

These two processes take place concurrently. Staging is the process that determines how far the cancer spreads and its severity. It also tells the precise type and location of cancer. In contrast to tissue and organ cancers, every kind of hematologic cancer has individual staging criteria.

Lymphoma- the diagnosis will require a biopsy, where a tiny part of your body tissue is examined under a microscope. Some instances will order a PET or CT scan or an X-ray to detect swelling in the spleen or lymph nodes.

Leukemia- the doctor obtains a CBC, Complete Blood Count, to detect abnormalities in the numbers of white blood cells relative to platelets and red blood cells.

Myeloma will require a CBC on most occasions, but urine or blood tests are used to detect proteins or chemicals which result from myeloma development. Further tests that confirm the diagnosis include MRI, X-rays, bone marrow biopsy, CT, and PET scans.

Treatment Options and Procedures

Treatment procedures will depend on the type of cancer, age of the patient, speed of cancer, and the chances of cancer spreading to other body parts.


Chemo administration will vary depending on the type of cancer and the chemotherapy drugs prescribed by your doctor. They work by disrupting the growth of cancerous cells with an aim to stop the reproduction.

Blood cancer chemotherapy might involve a combination of drugs that are administered in a pre-set regimen. Different methods include:

• Intravenous chemotherapy- this treatment is given through the vein.

• Oral chemo- the drugs are taken through the mouth in the form of capsules or tablets.

• Intramuscular chemo- involves muscle injections.

• Subcutaneous chemo- the drugs are injected under the skin.

Radiation Therapy

This treatment procedure utilizes rays with high energy to get rid of cancerous cells. It may also be used to alleviate discomfort or pain. Radiation therapy is sometimes administered before a stem cell transplant procedure.

Stem Cell Transplantation

This procedure infuses healthy stem cells into your body system to facilitate the production of healthy blood production. The source of stem cells may be circulating blood, the bone marrow, or umbilical cord blood.

Targeted Therapies

This blood cancer treatment involves using drugs that specifically remove malignant blood cells without harming the normal ones. Such procedures are standard in leukemia treatment.


This procedure involves activating the immune system with the primary aim of killing cancer cells.