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John Kang | WebMD | 3 Common Types of Blood Cancer

John Kang | WebMD | 3 Common Types of Blood Cancer

John Kang, your WebMD guide, specializes in General Surgery and Hematology/Oncology. In a recent post, he gave a brief introduction on hematology: what it is, the disorders and diseases associated with it and the specialists trained to diagnose and treat these disorders. For this post, John Kang, your WebMD guide, will focus on the life-threatening diseases caused by abnormalities in the blood.

Blood Cancer

In general, blood cancer is characterized by abnormalities in the blood such as the uncontrolled growth of abnormal blood cells that compromise the function and production of normal blood cells. These abnormal blood cells, which are cancer cells, affect the normal functions of the blood like protecting the body from infections.

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There are three common types of blood cancers, and John Kang, your WebMD guide briefly discusses each one below:

Leukemia

Leukemia is cancer of the blood and bone marrow. With this type of cancer, the body rapidly produces white blood cells, resulting in excessive amounts and when this occurs, the body is unable to fight off infections. Excessive amounts of white blood cells also compromise the bone marrow’s production of platelets and red blood cells.

John Kang, WebMD guide, shares that there are four classifications of leukemia: acute lymphocytic leukemia or ALL (the most common type of leukemia in children), acute myelogenous leukemia or AML (common in adult patients), chronic lymphocytic leukemia or CLL (common in adults), and chronic myelogenous leukemia or CML.

Lymphoma

Lymphoma is cancer in the lymphatic system. It is estimated that lymphoma accounts for about 50% of blood cancers diagnosed each year. The lymphatic system, which is composed of lymph nodes in the abdomen, groin, armpits, neck, and chest, is responsible for two things: production of immune cells and removal of excess fluids in the body. Lymphocytes are a sub-type of white blood cells responsible for the immune system’s response to foreign substances in the body, fighting off infections.

When there are abnormal lymphocytes present, they develop into lymphoma cells, and they grow and stay in the lymph nodes. With these cancer cells present in the lymph nodes, the body’s immune system is gravely compromised.

John Kang, WebMD guide, shares that there are two general classifications of lymphoma: non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Hodgkin lymphoma. After years and years of research, lymphoma has been transformed from a fatal disease into a curable disorder.

Lymphoma is the most common type of cancer in children, John Kang would like to emphasize.

Myeloma

Myeloma is a type of cancer that affects the body’s plasma cells, which are a sub-type of white blood cells responsible for the production of antibodies to fight off infections and diseases. When plasma cells become cancerous, and they multiply rapidly, they can interfere with the function and production of white blood cells and red blood cells. The disease may also cause damage to the kidneys and the bones.

When the myeloma cells grow rapidly, and they are present at different sites in the bone marrow, the disease is classified as multiple myeloma.

In the coming days, John Kang, WebMD guide, will talk about symptoms and treatments so kindly stay tuned for that.