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Cancers of the blood

Cancers of the blood

Cancers of the blood and immune system typically fall into one of three categories: leukemias, which manifest in immature white cells inside the bone marrow, lymphomas which manifest in lymphocycte cells, and myelomas which manifest in immature plasma cells inside the bone marrow. Lymphomas are typically broken down further into two different types: Hodgkin’s lymphomas, which manifest in the lymphatic system and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas which manifest in the blood.

Leukemia gets its name from the term leukocycte, meaning white cell. Leukemia is a cancer characterized by an abnormal increase of immature white cells called blast cells, which are partially differentiated in the bone marrow. These are the daughter cells of hematopoietic stem cells. Because the white blast cells have not fully differentiated they remain in the bone marrow, creating unique characteristics and effects of the disease.

Lymphoma gets its name from a specific type of white cell called a lymphocycte, which primarily function in the blood and lymph system with key roles in the immune system function. There many different types of lymphoma, usually described in one of two major classifications: Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s. It’s worth noting that the World Health Organization no long differentiates between Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s, but instead lists approximately 80 specific types of lymphoma based on cell characteristics.

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer that begins in a group of lymph nodes (usually the neck) and then spread to other lymph nodes. Eventually the cancer can migrate through the blood and form cancers in virtually any other organ in the body. Hodgkin’s Lymophoma’s are more rare than non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, but because their growth and progression are very predictable they are one of the most treatable forms of cancer with very high survival rates.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas are the most common types of lymphoma. These cancers begin in lymphocytes known as B-cells and T-cells. Growth and progresson for non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas are more difficult to predict and therefore more difficult to treat.

Myelomas get their name from partially differentiated myeloblast cells in the bone marrow that fail to fully differentiate into mature plasma cells. With Myeloma cancers, myeloblast cells grow abnormally large, forming tumors in the bone marrow.

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