Types of Blood Disorders and Cancers


Leukemia is cancer of the blood cells—usually the white blood cells. There are four main types of leukemia, which can be further divided into subtypes. When classifying the type of leukemia, the first steps are to determine if the cancer is:

  • Lymphocytic or myelogenous leukemia: This form of cancer can occur in either the lymphoid or myeloid white blood cells.
  • Lymphocytic leukemia: This is when the cancer develops in the lymphocytes (lymphoid cells).
  • Myelogenous leukemia: This is when the cancer develops in the myeloid cells, usually the granulocytes or monocytes.
  • Acute or chronic leukemia:
    • Acute leukemia - The new or immature cancer cells, called blasts, remain very immature and cannot perform their functions. The blasts increase in number rapidly, and the disease progresses quickly.
    • Chronic leukemia - The leukemia cells are more mature and are often able to perform some of their functions. The cells grow more slowly, and the number increases less quickly, so the disease progresses gradually.

Myelodysplastic syndrome

Myelodysplastic syndromes are blood-related medical conditions with ineffective production (or dysplasia) of the myeloid class of blood cells.

Myeloproliferative disease

Myeloproliferative disorders are a group of rare illnesses that cause blood cells in the bone marrow—including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets—to grow and develop abnormally.

Bone marrow failure syndromes

Bone marrow is the soft, spongy tissue found inside bones. This disorder occurs when the bone marrow fails to produce enough new blood cells.

Hodgkin's lymphoma (Hodgkin's disease)

Hodgkin's lymphoma is a malignant, progressive disease of unknown cause, marked by enlargement of the lymph nodes, spleen, and liver.

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma refers to any of various malignant lymphomas characterized by the absence of Reed-Sternberg cells and producing symptoms similar to those of Hodgkin disease.

Plasma cell disorders

Plasma cell disorders begin when a single plasma cell multiplies excessively. The resulting group of genetically identical cells produces a large quantity of a single type of antibody.