Pacific Cancer Programs

Blood Cancer (Hematologic)

Blood cancer refers to abnormal growth of cells normally found in the blood. Since there is a large variety of blood cells, any type of which can become malignant, there are many types of blood cancer. The most prevalent type of blood cancer results from malignant transformation of white blood cells—leukocytes— and is known as leukemia. The two main types of white blood cells, lymphocytes and granulocytes, define the two major classes of leukemia. Abnormal production of the other main types of blood cells, erythrocytes and platelets, can also result in blood cancer.

As in any type of cancer, the malignant cells have escaped the usual regulatory processes that dictate their appropriate production and lifespan; cancer cells are either produced in abnormally high numbers or remain in the body for an abnormally long period of time, or both.

Signs and Symptoms

Depending on the number of abnormal cells and where these cells collect, patients with leukemia may have a number of symptoms.

Common symptoms of leukemia:

  • Fevers or night sweats
  • Frequent infections
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Headaches
  • Bleeding and bruising easily (bleeding gums, purplish patches in the skin, or tiny red spots under the skin)
  • Pain in the bones or joints
  • Swelling or discomfort in the abdomen (from an enlarged spleen)
  • Swollen lymph nodes, especially in the neck or armpit
  • Weight loss

Most common types of blood cancer:

  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Multiple Myeloma

For more information and to view the source, please click here (Medpedia)

Resources

General Information

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

NCI has up-to-date information for patients and practitioners about blood cancer. The link below provides a list of 25 specific blood cancers.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

CDC is a leader in nationwide cancer prevention and control, working with national organizations, state health agencies and other key groups to develop, implement, and promote effective cancer prevention and control practices.

CDC Features: Blood Cancers: Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma

"Hematologic (blood) cancers affect everyone, including children. CDC funds efforts to raise awareness about hematologic cancers (leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma) among the public and health care providers to improve survivors' quality of life."

American Cancer Society (ACS)

ACS is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service.

ASCO Answers: Blood Cancer

ASCO Answers is a series of fact sheets that provides an introduction to a specific type of cancer. Each fact sheet is a PDF that includes an overview of what the cancer is, an illustration of where the cancer starts, how it is treated, terms to know, and questions to ask the doctor.

  • Visit ASCO Answers main webpage to find specific blood cancer information.
Online Tools

Follow-Up Care for Blood Cancer Survivors: The Critical Roles of Primary Care Providers

"This free activity consists of a lecture presentation, a learning assessment, and an evaluation form. The content of this virtual lecture is derived from a live educational webcast presented on Thursday, June 10, 2010."

"Advances in improved diagnostic methods and treatment of hematologic malignancies have led to an increased number of cancer survivors. Although most therapeutic modalities for cancer are beneficial and life-saving, long-term or late adverse sequelae are increasingly prevalent, serious, and persistent in survivors of pediatric and adult cancers. A thorough review of a patient's medical history, treatments, and co-morbid conditions is necessary for the primary care physician to recognize late effects of therapy and pursue appropriate interventions. Limited studies effectively associate treatment exposures with future consequences; however, through the grading of late effects, appropriate surveillance and treatment interventions may be implemented. Blood cancer survivors should be evaluated for cancer recurrence during follow-up visits with primary care providers (PCPs). Effective monitoring begins with PCP awareness of disease-specific signs and symptoms and includes thorough patient history and examination, along with appropriate use of laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures."

  • To view the online education program, please click here.
  • Listen to the Podcast (mp3 file): (mp3 68 MB). (QuickTime and PC audio capabilities required).
    • (Note: Due to the large file size, high-speed Internet connection is recommended).
  • Download the Activity Workbook (PDF file): (pdf 3.5 MB).
Printed Materials to Download

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

These two fact sheets below are from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). They provide the patients, practitioners, and caregivers of blood cancer with information of how one should approach "Choosing a Blood Cancer Specialist or Treatment Center" and research on "Integrative Medicine and Complementary & Alternative Therapies as part of Blood Cancer Care."

  • Download "Choosing a Blood Cancer Specialist or Treatment Center": (pdf 149 KB).
  • Download "Integrative Medicine and Complementary & Alternative Therapies as part of Blood Cancer Care": (pdf 675 KB).
  • Visit LLS to get more information.

Multiple Myeloma Fact Sheet

American Society of Hematology (ASH)

ASH features the highlights of their 2009 Annual Meeting entitled "Lastest News in Blood Cancer Research."

  • Visit ASH to get more information.
  • Download the 2009 Highlights: (pdf 363 KB).

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