Hematologic Malignancies are cancers that start in the bone marrow, where the blood is made or in the cells of the immune system. Also known as blood cancers, they develop when abnormal blood cells start to multiply, and a result interfere with function and production of new healthy blood cells.
Treatment for hematologic malignancies/blood cancers depends on a number of factors, which include:
- The type of cancer
- The stage of the cancer
- The age of the patient
- The speed at which the cancer is spreading
- The overall health history of the patient
Common cancer treatments include chemotherapy, radiation, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and stem cell transplantation (explained further below in detail).
Types of Hematologic Malignancies (Blood Cancers)
There are different types of hematologic malignancies, and these include:
This is a group of blood-related cancers that begin in the bone-marrow and is commonly known as the cancer of the white blood cells. Some forms of leukemia are slow-growing while others grow fast. Leukemia can affect anyone at any age.
- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Also known as Hodgkin’s disease, this is a type of blood cancer that starts in the lymphatic system, in the upper body. The lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cells, help the body fight off infections.
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
This is similar to the Hodgkin’s Lymphoma whereby the cancers originate from the lymphatic system, but here, the cancers grow anywhere in the body. They are not restricted only to the upper part of the body. Additionally, they are characterized by abnormal lymphocytes known as the Reed-Sternberg cell
- Multiple Myeloma
This type of cancer forms in the plasma cells (a type of white blood cells), which help the body to fight off infections. When affected, the immune system becomes weak and unable to fight any disease and infections.
- Myelodysplastic Syndromes
These are a group of disorders that occur when the bone marrow is unable to produce healthy and functional blood cells.
Symptoms of Hematologic Malignancies
Hematologic malignancies are characterized by a number of symptoms, which include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Persistent fever or chills
- Joint or bone pain
- Loss of appetite
- Episodes of breathlessness
- Discomfort in the abdomen
- Persistent skin rash or itchiness
- Recurring infections
- Bruising or bleeding easily
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Night sweats
Hematologic Malignancies Treatment
In cases of blood cancers an occasional ‘watchful waiting approach’ is implemented after diagnosis before treatment, there are different common treatments of hematologic cancers including:
Chemotherapy: This is a cancer treatment that focuses on stopping or interfering with the growth of cancer cells in the body with the use of a combination of several anticancer drugs.
Radiation: This form of treatment uses high energy to destroy the cancer cells.
Bone Marrow Transplant: This treatment option is used to replace or destroy the abnormal bone marrow cells with new bone marrow cells so as to resume healthy blood production.
Targeted Therapies: This form of treatment uses drugs that specifically target the affected or abnormal blood cells without harming the healthy cells.
Immunotherapy: To treat some cancers, the immune system is activated in order to kill/destroy the cancerous cells.
At King’s College Hospital Dubai, we focus on offering an exemplary service. From initial consultation through to final diagnosis, treatment and beyond. Our multidisciplinary team of expert doctors and nurses, and technologists led by Dr Hassan Ghazal – an American triple board-certified Consultant Medical Oncologist and a Consultant Clinical Hematologist with more than 3 decades of clinical experience, are here to offer tailored management and treatment of your condition, and to answer any questions that you may have throughout your time with us. Whatever you need us for, we’re only a phone-call away.
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