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Blood cancers

Blood cancers develop when blood cells aren’t made properly.

In most blood cancers, the normal cell production is interrupted by the uncontrolled growth of an abnormal type of blood cell affecting 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, spleen, liver, lungs and kidneys. Without treatment, many of the body’s key functions will be increasingly affected.

Main types of blood cells

  • Red blood cells – carry oxygen
  • White blood cells – fight infection, provide immunity.
  • Platelets – helps the blood to clot

Types of Blood Cancer


Leukocytes are the type of white blood cell affected in Leukaemia.  These abnormal cells are produced in large numbers and may be Acute - fast growing or Chronic - slow growing.


Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell that develops in the lymphatic system helping the body fight infection.   Lymphoma is when these lymphocytes develop abnormally and grow in large numbers.


This cancer is from the abnormal growth of plasma cells -a type of white blood cell made in the bone marrow.

Last updated: 3 June 2021