- Blood cancers
The blood is made up of different types of blood cells. Blood cells are made in the bone marrow – a spongy material in the middle of our bones.
Learn more about:
- What are the main types of blood cells?
- How do blood cancers develop?
- What are the main groups of blood cancers?
What are the main types of blood cells?
There are three main types of blood cells:
- red blood cells – carry oxygen
- white blood cells – fight and prevent infection
- platelets – help the blood to clot.
How do blood cancers develop?
Blood cancers develop when blood cells aren’t made properly.
In most blood cancers, the normal cell production is interrupted by uncontrolled growth of an abnormal type of blood cell. This can reduce the bone marrow’s ability to produce normal levels of other blood cells, which affects the way that the rest of the body works. Meanwhile, the abnormal cells spill out into the bloodstream.
As the abnormal blood cells build up in the blood, they can spread to the lymph glands (lymph nodes), spleen, liver, lungs and kidneys. Without treatment, many of the body’s key functions will be increasingly affected.
What are the main groups of blood cancer?
The three main groups of blood cancer are:
Cancer that originates in blood-forming tissue. It is named according to the type of white blood cell that is affected and whether it is fast growing (acute) or slow growing (chronic).
There are four types:
Cancer that develops in the lymphatic system from cells called lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight infection.
There are two main types:
Myeloma is a cancer that begins in the blood’s plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that is made in the bone marrow.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
- Understanding Acute Leukaemia Download PDF448kB
- Understanding Acute Leukaemia ebook Download ePUB753kB
- Understanding Chronic Leukaemia Download PDF384kB
- Understanding Chronic Leukaemia ebook Download ePUB1.16MB
- Understanding Hodgkin Lymphoma Download PDF440kB
- Understanding Hodgkin Lymphoma ebook Download ePUB898kB
- Understanding Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Download PDF438kB
- Understanding Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma ebook Download ePUB1.33MB
- Understanding Myeloma Download PDF353kB
- Understanding Myeloma ebook Download ePUB741kB