Blood Cancer

Chances are, you’ve heard of leukemia and lymphoma. But did you know these common conditions are both types of blood cancer?

Like other parts of your body, cancer can form within the substances that make up your blood. And like other cancers, blood cancer can be life-threatening without treatment.

Fortunately, blood cancers no longer carry the stigma they once did. Survival rates for some blood cancers once considered deadly are now as high as 80 percent.

Why is Blood Important?

On an average day, you may not give much thought to your blood. Other than when a child scrapes a knee or you nick yourself shaving, blood stays hidden inside your body—where it performs several life-saving functions.

Blood is made of four materials:

  • Red blood cells give your blood its color. More importantly, they carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body.
  • White blood cells help your body fight infections.
  • Platelets help your blood clot.
  • Plasma is the watery part of your blood. It transports your blood cells, nutrients, hormones and waste products.

A fifth material, bone marrow, is essential for healthy blood. Bone marrow is the spongy tissue located inside of your bones. It makes your red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

What is Blood Cancer? 

If cancer grows in one of the materials that produce or make up our blood, it may be known broadly as blood cancer. It may also be named for the component where it began.

The three most common blood cancers are:

  • Leukemia (which starts in the bone marrow).
  • Lymphoma (which begins in the white blood cells).
  • Multiple myeloma (which starts in your plasma cells).

Blood Cancer Treatment at Mercy 

If you have a type of blood cancer, you probably have a lot of questions or concerns. And because blood cancer is often misunderstood, you may need help separating fact from fiction.

Mercy’s cancer team is on the leading edge of blood cancer treatment. We’ve helped thousands of patients like you face blood cancer. We’ll help you understand your condition—and overcome it.

Your treatment strategy will depend on several factors. These include the type of blood cancer you have, and whether it is slow-growing or aggressive. Your doctor may recommend you have one or more types of treatment, including:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Medication, including immunotherapy drugs
  • Stem cell transplant (also known as a bone marrow transplant)

We know blood cancer can take a toll on your physical and emotional health. You may feel tired and weak, and wonder if you have the stamina to get through this. That’s where Mercy comes in.

We’ll treat your cancer using the most effective tools available. And we’ll be by your side every step of the way. Whether you need a shoulder to lean on or a hand to hold, you’ll find the strength and support you need to beat blood cancer—and move on.

Clinical Trials for Blood Cancer

Clinical trials are another treatment option for patients interested in testing new therapies that are not yet widely available. Your care team can help you consider all of your options, including clinical trials offered by Mercy or research organizations like Cancer Research for the Ozarks.

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