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What are types of blood cancer?

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Quick Answer

The three main types of blood cancer are leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, according to the American Society of Hematology. Leukemia relates to the blood and bone marrow, while lymphoma targets the lymphatic system. Myeloma is a malignancy of the plasma cells in the blood.

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Full Answer

Leukemia manifests when abnormal white blood cells are produced at a rapid rate, explains the American Society of Hematology. Unlike normal white blood cells, the cells do not possess the ability to ward off infections, and their presence in the body inhibits the blood marrow's ability to create necessary platelets and red blood cells. Similarly, lymphoma occurs when abnormal lymphocytes, a specific type of white blood cells, turn into malignant lymphoma cells. The cancerous cells then reproduce and gather inside the lymph nodes of the lymphatic system. Because part of the lymphatic system's function is the production of immune cells, the presence of these cancerous cells eventually leads to a weakened immune system.

Myeloma involves another type of white blood cells called plasma cells, states the American Society of Hematology. Plasma cells exist to provide the body with antibodies that fight off diseases and infections. Myeloma cells prevent antibodies from being produced at a sufficient rate, placing the body at a higher risk of developing diseases and infections.

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