Blood Cancers: Stem Cell Transplantation Can Save a Life
Cancer can arise from any of the tissues of the human body, so the blood forming tissues (Bone marrow and Lymph glands) are no exception. Cancer that begins in the marrow is commonly called Leukemia and these cancerous cells circulate in the blood and can be easily detected by looking at the blood under a microscope. Cancer arising from the lymph glands is commonly called a Lymphoma. Another cancer arising in the bone marrow is called a Multiple myeloma but this one remains inside the bones which are often eaten up by the cancerous cells and tend to break easily. There are many subtypes of Leukemia and Lymphomas some of which are acute and aggressive; others are more indolent and run a chronic course over several years.
Cancers of the blood are commonly called Hematologic cancers as opposed to rest of the cancers which are called Solid tumors. Whereas the solid tumors constitute 90% of all cancers Blood cancers account for about 10%. This translates to about 150,000 cases of blood cancers diagnosed in the US each year. Among all human cancers, Blood cancers tend to be generally more curable, with a few exceptions. No age is exempt from developing blood cancer. In fact among the Blood cancers, Leukemia is one of the more common cancers among the pediatric age group. Fortunately children respond to cancer treatments with much better results such that childhood leukemia is cured in more than 80% of cases.