Blood cancers such as multiple myeloma affect the function and production of blood cells. In most blood cancers, normal blood cell development is interrupted by uncontrolled growth of abnormal blood cells. The abnormal blood cells can prevent blood from fighting off infection or preventing uncontrolled bleeding. There are three main blood cancer types:
Multiple Myeloma is a blood cancer that affects the plasma cells in bone marrow, causing them to form a tumor. Plasma cells are the white blood cells that make antibodies to fight off infections. Myeloma is often found in multiple places in the body, and is referred to as multiple myeloma. In rare cases myeloma is found in one place in the body, and is called solitary myeloma. Myeloma blood cancer treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell transplant.
Leukemia is a blood cancer in both the bone marrow and in blood itself. Both types of leukemia involve an over-production of white blood cells. Lymphocytic leukemia involves over-production of lymphocytes, and myelogenous leukemia involves over-production of white blood cells called granulocytes. Over time, leukemia cells crowd out normal blood cells leading to serious bleeding and infection.
Lymphoma is a blood cancer that develops in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is made up of groups of lymph nodes which keep body fluids free from infection. The blood cancer may spread from one group of lymph nodes to another in order (Hodgkin lymphoma) or spread randomly (non-Hodgkin lymphoma).