• Blood and Bone Marrow Cancers

    Blood and bone marrow cancers are usually simple to diagnose. But if you’ve been diagnosed recently, you know there’s nothing simple about realizing you have cancer or finding the right care. You want expert guidance. And you need support.

    AAMC’s Blood and Bone Marrow Cancer Program at the DeCesaris Cancer Institute gives you the care you need throughout your cancer journey. With experienced oncologists, a state-of-the-art treatment center and a network of support programs, we’ll support you and your family every step of the way—from the time you’re first diagnosed through treatment and into survivorship.

    About Blood and Bone Marrow Cancer

    Most of our blood cells grow from stem cells located in the bone marrow. Stem cells mature into three types of cells: white blood cells to help fight infection, red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body, and platelets to help form blood clots to control bleeding. Our bodies make blood cells to replace old or damaged cells.

    Blood cancers affect the production and function of your blood cells. And, most of these cancers start in the bone marrow.

    Blood and Bone Marrow Cancer Types

  • AML starts in blood-forming tissue like bone marrow and causes large numbers of blood cells to enter the bloodstream. Learn more.

    Hodgkin lymphoma is cancer of the immune system, also called Hodgkin’s disease. Learn more.

    Some cancers may occur more often in people with HIV. These include Kaposi sarcoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, and cancers of the lung, mouth, cervix and digestive system. 

    Leukemia starts in blood-forming tissue like bone marrow and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the bloodstream. Learn more.

    Multiple myeloma (also called Kahler disease, myelomatosis and plasma cell myeloma) begins in normal plasma cells and causes them to go through a series of changes that can lead to excess cell growth. This can form tumors. Learn more.

    Myelodysplastic syndrome and myeloproliferative disorders are a group of slow-growing cancers, including chronic myelogenous leukemias (CML), that cause large numbers of abnormal blood cells and platelets to grow and spread in the bone marrow and blood. Learn more.

    There are different types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), both slow- and fast-growing. These cancers affect the white blood cells and can occur at any age. Learn more.

  • Signs and Symptoms

    We are all unique and that includes the way our bodies may handle or show signs and symptoms of cancer. You may not show any signs of blood and bone marrow cancers or experience any symptoms. If you do, they may include:

    • Anemia
    • Bone problems, such as breaks from minor stress/injury or pain
    • Enlarged lymph nodes
    • Fatigue
    • Fever
    • High calcium levels
    • Hyper viscosity (blood too thick)
    • Infection
    • Kidney problems
    • Low blood counts
    • Muscle weakness or pain
    • Night sweats
    • Numbness
    • Weight loss

    Diagnosis

    If your doctor suspects you have a blood or bone marrow cancer, these diagnostic tests may help confirm or rule out the diagnosis:

    • Biopsy (examination of a tissue sample)
    • Blood tests
    • Bone marrow aspiration (taking a bone marrow sample in liquid form)
    • CT or bone scans, MRIs or x-rays
    • Chromosome and gene testing
    • Urine tests

    Treatment

    We can treat blood and platelet disorders with nonsurgical therapies, such as:

    • Chemotherapy
    • Radiotherapy
    • Bone marrow transplant

    If you need a bone marrow transplant, we partner with hospitals in our region, so your team includes both your physician and a transplant specialist.

    You may also require treatment to help ease or alleviate your symptoms, such as:

    • Antibiotics to treat infection
    • Biophosponate medication to strengthen your bones
    • Blood transfusion for anemia
    • Erythropoeitin, which is a hormone to help increase red blood cell production
    • Kidney dialysis for kidney damage or failure
    • Pain medication
    • Surgery for bone injuries or to ease pressure on nerves

    You and your family are important members of your care team, and there is no one-size-fits all course of treatment. Your doctors will discuss your options and work with you to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your condition.

    Make an Appointment

    We’re here to help. If you suspect you may have a blood or bone marrow cancer, or you have been recently diagnosed, call 443-481-5800 to schedule a consultation.