At Group Health Medical Centers, patients with blood-related problems often see their personal physician first if they have symptoms or need diagnostic tests. That's because most blood-related problems are not cancer. When cancer is suspected or diagnosed, patients are referred to medical oncology and hematology specialists.
With our coordinated care approach, primary care providers can share medical records and test results directly with our hematologists and oncologists early in the diagnostic process. We call these "virtual consults."
Patients with blood cancer receive outstanding and compassionate care from Group Health Medical Centers cancer specialists. They team with personal physicians and other specialists to find the best treatment.
Blood cancer is not one disease but a broad group of cancers that affect the production and the function of your blood cells. There are three main types of blood cancers: leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. The two main types of lymphoma are Hodgkin's lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Myeloma is sometimes referred to as "multiple myeloma." These cancers are quite different from one another, and each one is treated differently.
Most blood cancers start in bone marrow, the spongy substance inside the bone where blood cells are produced. In the bone marrow, stem cells develop into three basic components of blood: red or white blood cells or platelets.
Different blood cancers occur in different blood components when there is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. The uncontrolled growth interferes with the function of normal blood cells, such as fighting off infections or clotting to stop bleeding.
Blood cancers can affect various parts of the body and can cause a variety of symptoms such as headaches, swollen glands, pain, bruising, or digestive problems. Often a person feels sick when the immune system isn’t able to fight off infection. People with these symptoms should contact their personal doctor if the symptoms last for more than a week or get worse over time.
It's not clear why some people get blood cancer, but exposure to radiation is one cause.
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