Blood and Bone

Blood cancers happen when the blood cells do not develop properly. The most common types of blood cancer are leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Within these groups there are different types of cancer. Bone cancer, or sarcoma, is a rare form of cancer with about 600 cases a year in the UK.

Leukaemia

There are four main types of leukaemia based on the type of cell affected (myeloid and lymphocytes) and if develops fast (acute) or slow (chronic).

Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML)

This is the most common type of leukaemia. It develops slowly and often cause no symptoms in the early stages.

Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)

This is a rare form of cancer. Symptoms can develop quickly

Chronic Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (CLL)

This is a rare form of cancer. It develops slowly and for most people it can be controlled during their lifespan.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL)

This is a rare form of cancer. Symptoms can develop quickly

Symptoms

  • General weakness (AML; ALL; CLL; CML)
  • Fatigue (AML; ALL; CLL; CML)
  • High temperature (AML; ALL; CLL; CML)
  • Frequent infections  (AML; ALL; CLL; CML)
  • Bruising or bleeding easily (AML; ALL; CLL; CML)
  • Weight loss (AML; ALL; CLL; CML)
  • Pain in bones or joints (AML; ALL; CLL; CML)
  • Breathlessness (AML; ALL)
  • Feeling full (AML; ALL; CML)
  • Pale skin (AML; ALL; CLL; CML)
  • Swollen lymph nodes/glands (ALL; CLL; CML)
  • Loss of appetite (CML)
  • Night sweats (CLL; CML)
  • Headaches (CML)

These symptoms are often vague and can be caused by other conditions. If you do experience any of these symptoms speak to a GP.

Treatment

The type of treatment you receive will depend on the location and stage of your cancer. The main treatments include:

  • Surgery (CLL)
  • Chemotherapy (ALL; AML; CLL; CML)
  • Radiotherapy (ALL; AML; CLL)
  • Targeted cancer drugs (ALL; AML; CLL; CML)
  • Immunotherapy (ALL)
  • Stem cell/bone marrow transplant (ALL; AML; CLL; CML)
  • Steroids (ALL)
  • Removal of abnormal white blood cells (AML)

Your treatment plan may have a combination of these.

Lymphoma

The lymphatic system is part of the body’s immune system. There are two main types of lymphoma: Hodgkin Lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

Hodgkin Lymphoma

Around 20% of diagnosed lymphomas are Hodgkin Lymphoma, which is around 1,700 cases a year in the UK.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

This is the fifth most common cancer in the UK, affecting around 13,500 people a year.

Symptoms

  • Swelling of lymph node (neck, armpit or groin)
  • Night sweats
  • High temperature
  • Weight loss
  • Itching
  • Breathlessness
  • Tummy pain

These symptoms are often vague and can be caused by other conditions. If you do experience any of these symptoms speak to a GP.

Treatment

The type of treatment you receive will depend on the location and stage of your cancer. The main treatments include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Targeted cancer drugs
  • Stem cell/bone marrow transplant
  • Steroids

Your treatment plan may have a combination of these.

Myeloma 

This is a type of bone marrow cancer and can affect several parts of the body.

Symptoms

  • Aching in bones
  • Weak bones that break easily
  • Fatigue
  • Breathlessness
  • Frequent infections
  • Kidney problems
  • Feeling thirsty a lot

These symptoms are often vague and can be caused by other conditions. If you do experience any of these symptoms speak to a GP.

Treatment

The type of treatment you receive will depend on the location and stage of your cancer. The main treatments include:

  • Radiotherapy
  • Stem cell/bone marrow transplant
  • Steroids

Your treatment plan may have a combination of these.

Bone cancer

Bone cancer can affect any bone in the body, but it usually develops in the longer bones – the arms and legs.

Symptoms

  • Persistent bone pain
  • Swelling and redness over a bone
  • Lump over a bone
  • Weak bone that breaks easily

If you are experiencing persistent, worsening or severe pain in a bone speak to a GP. It will probably not be cancer, but does need investigating.

Treatment

The type of treatment you receive will depend on the location and stage of your cancer. The main treatments include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Targeted cancer drugs

Your treatment plan may have a combination of these.

Support and more information available

NHS

Cancer Research UK

Macmillan

Anthony Nolan Trust

Blood Cancer UK

Bright Red

DKMS

Leukaemia and Myeloma Research UK

Leukaemia Care

Leukaemia UK

Lymphoedema Support Network

Lymphwhatodoema

Myeloma UK

OcuMel

Race Against Blood Cancer

Sarcoma UK