What causes blood cancer?

Although the specific cause of blood cancer is not known, a number of factors are associated with its development. Many blood cancers are more common among older adults. Some tend to run in families. Certain infections also appear to increase the risk of some blood cancers, as does a weakened immune system.

What are the risk factors for blood cancer?

A number of factors increase the risk of developing blood cancer. Not all people with risk factors will get blood cancer. Risk factors for blood cancer include:

  • Advanced age
  • Certain types of infections
  • Compromised immune system due to such conditions as HIV/AIDS, taking corticosteroids, or organ transplant
  • Exposure to certain chemicals
  • Exposure to radiation or certain types of chemotherapy
  • Family history of blood cancer
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Solid organ transplant recipient
  • Personal history of certain blood disorders
  • Personal history of certain genetic disorders (Down syndrome)
  • Smoking
INTRODUCTION

What is blood cancer?

Blood cancer represents a large group of different malignancies. This group includes cancers of the bone marrow, blood, and lymphatic system, which includes lymph nodes, lymphatic vessels, tonsils, thymus, spleen, and digestive tract lymphoid tissue. Leukemia and myeloma, which start in the bone marrow, and lymphoma, which starts in the lymphatic system, are the most common types of blood cance... Read more about blood cancerintroduction

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of blood cancer?

Blood cancer can produce a variety of symptoms, or none at all.

Common symptoms of blood cancer

Symptoms of blood cancer can include:

TREATMENTS

How is blood cancer treated?

Goal of cancer treatment

The goal of blood cancer treatment is to permanently cure the cancer or to bring about a complete remission of the disease. Remission means that there is no longer any sign of the disease in the body, although it may recur or relapse later.

Some blood cancers grow slowly enough that delaying treatment may be an option. If the decision to delay t... Read more about blood cancertreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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This Article is Filed Under: Cancer