Haemato-oncology is the study of blood related cancers. Blood related cancers account for approximately 10% of all cancers and are primarily leukaemias, lymphomas and multiple myeloma. Some forms are highly aggressive, others so benign that they may only be picked up by chance. The symptoms include lumps - in a variety of body sites - which are typical of lymphomas; bone fractures and kidney problems. Characteristic of myeloma, and fatigue and vulnerability to infection, result from most types of Haematological Cancer but are particularly severe in acute leukemia. The haematological malignancies are a complex group of neoplastic diseases, linked by their origin in cells derived from bone marrow. The growing understanding of how haematological malignancies arise through disruption of the normal cellular processes in the bone marrow and immune system by a variety of molecular and cytogenetic abnormalities is challenging traditional approaches to disease classification. Like the various forms of disease, the treatments used vary widely. Some are very demanding, both for patients and those who look after them.
Aggressive forms of Haematological Cancer such as acute leukaemia may be curable, but only by repeated periods of intensive chemotherapy which require long periods of hospitalization and protection from infection, and sometimes, transplantation of blood progenitor cells from bone marrow or other sources. A wider range of treatments are required for patients with lymphomas or myeloma, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and sometimes surgery. With lymphomas as with acute leukaemias, intensive treatment may continue over long period of time. Less aggressive forms of Haematological Cancer, which are more common among elderly people, may only require monitoring or minimal palliative treatment, often given on an out-patient basis.
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