Blood cancer - Types, symptoms, causes, and role of bone marrow

Over 1,00,000 people are diagnosed every year with blood cancer which accounts for 8% of all new cases of cancer diagnosed in India. Lymphoma, leukemia, and multiple myeloma are the most common ones. Lack of awareness is the biggest challenge. People are unaware that it can be managed and patients can have a second chance.

Dr. Bharat begins, “Blood cancer is the cancer of blood cells. Blood has three components – Haemoglobin, White blood cells (WBC), and platelets. If any of these gets abnormal values, then it may lead to blood cancer. Bone marrow that is located in the centre of the bone is a kind of their parents. The deformation of this bone marrow due to any cause results in the cancerous formation in blood components leading to blood cancer.” 

Blood cancer types

Dr. Bharat says, “There are two types of blood cancer. They are classified on the basis of the duration and severity of blood cancer.

Acute blood cancer – This includes acute myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoid leukemia. They are dangerous, life-threatening, and require intensive treatment.

Chronic blood cancer – Includes Chronic lymphoid leukemia and Chronic myeloid leukemia. They are milder versions, generally seen in old age, and have a good prognosis.”

Stages of blood cancer

Dr. Bharat states, “Acute blood cancers have no stages as they are serious in nature. They are synonymous with stage IV of other types of cancer where life expectancy is just 5-10%.

In chronic, we have phases – Chronic, accelerated, and leukemic crisis

Only in chronic lymphoid leukemia, there is proper staging. Staging decides the treatment of cancers. Staging has no relevance in blood cancer.”

Signs and symptoms of blood cancer

  • Anemia
  • Weakness
  • Easy fatigability
  • Frequent infections or Pneumonia
  • Fever
  • Breathlessness
  • Increase bleeding tendency in the body – External bleeding (lungs) and internal bleeding (brain and abdomen)
  • Gum hypertrophy

Cause of blood cancer

Dr. Bharat says, “The genetic mutation in DNA (the genetic material that is present in the nucleus). Changes in the gene structure of the DNA can lead to mutation which further leads to cell proliferation and cancer. This is the most causative factor causing cancer.”

Role of bone marrow in blood cancer

Dr. Bharat explains, “Bone marrow is responsible for the formation of blood components. If there is a defect in the parent, that will form defective blood components causing cancer. Bone marrow is the house of these cells where cancer formation occurs.” 

Treatment of blood cancer

Dr. Bharat enlightens, “Medical Oncologists diagnose blood cancer and its type. Then they risk stratify the blood cancer and give stratification. Based on this risk stratification, they initiate the treatment. Chemotherapy is the treatment of blood cancer.”


1. Does smoking cause blood cancer?

  • No

2. Do people with blood cancer have to undergo bone marrow transplantation?

  • Yes, it is the crucial treatment modality in treating blood cancer.

3. Can bone marrow failure increase the risk of developing aggressive blood cancer?

  • No

(Edited by Renu Gupta)


Contributed By: Dr. Bharat Chauhan, Medical Oncologist, Bombay Hospital
Tags : #Healthcaretrendingtopics #DrBharatChauhan #BombayHospital #Bloodcancer #Stemcelltransplantation #Bonemarrowtransplantation #Bonemarrow #Leukemia #Bloodcancertypes #Bloodcancercauses #Bloodcancersymptoms #Bloodcancertreatment #chemotherapy #Medicircle #SmitaKumar

About the Author

Renu Gupta

With a background in Pharmacy which is the clinical health science that links medical science with chemistry, I had the desire to mix creativity to these fields. Medicircle provides me an avenue to apply my training in science and interest in creativity together.

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