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Types of Blood Cancer

Doctors have currently identified three different types of blood cancer:

1. Leukemia

2. Lymphoma

3. Myeloma

All of these blood cancers are deadly if not diagnosed or treated. These cancers cause mutations in the cells in your bone marrow. These mutated cells will produce blood cells that are dysfunctional and will negatively affect white blood cells. These cells will eventually destroy white and red blood cells.


leukemia blood cancer

Leukemia is a type of blood cancer in which your bone marrow produces white blood cells that are useless in terms of protecting you from deadly bacteria, viruses, and infections. Four types of leukemia exist. These types are categorized and grouped according to the kind of white blood cells they affect/attack. The rate at which they grow (some kinds of leukemia multiply, and others slowly!) Doctors call fast-growing leukemia acute leukemia. They call leukemia that slowly develops chronic leukemia.

The four different types of leukemia are:

  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)
  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
  • Lymphoma

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)

This type of leukemia affects a specific type of white blood cell which your bone marrow produces and is known as a lymphocyte. When you have Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), your bone marrow will produce lymphocytes in excess. These lymphocytes will start to displace and kill off healthy white blood cells. ALL is acute leukemia, which can be deadly because it can kill your immune system quickly. Toddlers aged 3-5 are most likely to develop it. Seniors who are 75 or over can develop it as well.

If you have any of the mentioned below, you are at a higher risk of developing ALL:

  • Your sibling(s) had it
  • You previously received chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer
  • You are regularly exposed to lots of radiation
  • You have a genetic disorder which includes Down Syndrome

You need to receive treatment immediately after being diagnosed with ALL because it can save your life. ALL negatively affects red blood cells and white blood cells. Doctors have identified many different subtypes of ALL.

You can develop ALL two ways. You can either be exposed to radiation or some other substance. That can cause harmful mutations in your bone marrow cells’ DNA, or you can develop a genetic injury that will cause your bone marrow’s cells to produce dysfunctional cells that will make too many lymphocytes. Your bone marrow makes stem cells that provide all types of blood cells. The worst part about ALL is that it can metastasize to other your lymph nodes and your central nervous system. Once these stem cells start to produce leukemic lymphoblasts, they will displace and kill white blood cells mainly because they can survive better than white blood cells can.

ALL is a serious blood cancer which can do the following to your body:

  • It can easily make you anemic quickly. You are more likely to die soon if you have Anemia because you will have very few red blood cells. This will make it hard for your cells to get the nutrition they need to function normally. And you may have a hard time to breathe. You will continuously feel very tired as a result.
  • It can cause neutropenia. You have neutropenia if your white blood cell count is too low. Your immune system will not be strong enough to protect you from disease and infections. You will always be very sick and tired.
  • You can develop thrombocytopenia, which drastically lowers your platelet count. You will bleed and bruise more often for no apparent reason.
  • You are more likely to build pancytopenia, which reduces your genera blood cell count.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

AML affects your myeloid cells’ ability to produce healthy blood cells. Your bone marrow produces far fewer blood cells than your body needs to function effectively. If you have AML, the few blood cells your bone marrow will create will be malformed, dysfunctional, and useless. Because it is not well understood, this leukemia is challenging to treat and send into remission. AML is an acute leukemia. Most people who develop it are 65 or over, and men are most likely to get it.

You get AML when the DNA of the stem cells in your bone marrow that produce blood cells is warped or damaged. Doctors call AML an acquired mutation because you are not born with it.

Once the stem cell’s DNA is warped, its daughter cells will contain the damaged DNA. The damaged DNA is what allows these cells to divide quickly into clusters called leukemic blasts. These clusters develop into deadly tumors that are dysfunctional, have excellent survival rates, and kill healthy blood cells by consuming the resources and nutrients that they need to function. If you don’t seek treatment, you will feel weaker, less healthy, and you will always be tired because your body will not be producing blood cells in the amounts it needs to stay active and healthy.

Most people who have AML are anemic because they have very low (lower than usual) blood cell counts. This causes them to have constant fatigue and breathing problems. You are at a much higher risk of developing neutropenia. If you have neutropenia, your white blood cell counts are extremely low, and this impairs your body’s ability to fight invasive viruses, bacteria, and infections properly. This type of white blood cell is a neutrophil. AML leads to thrombocytopenia. You will have very low blood platelet counts and will bruise and bleed suddenly with thrombocytopenia. It may take longer and be harder to stop the bruising and bleeding. You can get pancytopenia – a condition in which your general blood count is meager. You will feel sick, tired, and have trouble breathing with this condition.

You are most likely to get it.

  • If you previously received chemotherapy or radiation therapy for any type of cancer
  • If you have been exposed to deadly chemicals. Benzine is a good example
  • If you smoke.
  • If you have a genetic disorder like Down Syndrome or a blood disorder like myelodysplasia.

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

CLL is a type of blood cancer which is more likely among adults. It is incurable cancer which grows in and affects the bone marrow. It is challenging to treat in the early stages because you may not have symptoms for years. This cancer affects people who are 70 or older. You are more prone to developing it if it runs in your family or if you use powerful and dangerous chemicals a lot. A good example is weed killers.

CLL generally affects adults who live in the West. If you develop CLL, you will be treated by either a hematologist or an oncologist. This type of leukemia affects people differently. For example, it can be acute in some adults and chronic in others. The outlook for survival is high for CLL patients because of the myriad of treatment options available to them.

You will develop CLL when the DNA in your bone marrow’s stem cells becomes warped. As mentioned earlier, this type of DNA damage is referred to as an acquired mutation. This is critical because the stem cells in your bone marrow make new blood cells, including red and white blood cells and platelets. These abnormal cells divide rapidly and soon form into clusters. They have a higher survival rate than healthy blood cells are and are dangerous because they consume resources that healthy blood cells need to survive. This kills off normal blood cells in the long-run and will make you very tired, weak, and sick.

CLL Is considered to be chronic leukemia since normal blood cell function is unaffected. However, your normal blood cell count will be dangerously low, making you more likely to be anemic. Anemia- It is a blood disorder that can cause fatigue, and Anemia is a blood disorder that can cause fatigue and breathing problems. You are also more prone to developing neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and pancytopenia.

Doctors have currently identified two different forms of CLL:

  • Slow growth
  • Fast growth

Slow-growth CLL

Your stem cells will make a type of white blood cell called a lymphocyte in excess. The numbers of lymphocytes won’t be much higher than those of red blood cells or platelets. This type of CLL is not as dangerous, and if you have it, you’ll likely remain in stable health and condition for many years.

Fast-growth CLL

If you have this type of CLL, your stem cells will make CLL cells in excess, and this will impede your normal blood cell function because excessive CELL growth will happen quickly. You’ll feel weak, tired, and sick because you won’t have or produce enough red blood cells or platelets.

You can look forward to the following with this type of CLL:

  • More significant than normal lymph nodes which are dangerous because of their ability to cause multiple organ failure through space compression. If you have an enlarged node resting on your spleen, you may end up with fecal incontinence.
  • Deficient levels of immunoglobulin. Immunoglobulin is a protein that strengthens your immune system and makes it more able to fight infections. If you have fast-growth CLL, you will likely be continually developing harmful diseases.
  • Enlarged spleen. This can cause weight loss if it presses on the stomach because it can cause you to feel full after only a few bites of food.

Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML)

This type of blood cancer is persistent and develops in your myeloid cells. Your myeloid cells make your bone marrow and blood cells. Adults, you have the most significant risk of getting it. However, men and kids can get it too. You are also more likely to get it if you are always around radiation. It has three distinct phases and is generally only diagnosed in the chronic stage – this is the phase when treatment is most successful.

You will see a hematologist if you have CML. The hematologist will prescribe oral drugs for you to take daily to fight off CML. The medicine of choice is Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor (TKI) because of its ability to send CML into remission for a long time. TKI has very high patient survival rates.

You get CML when the DNA of the stem cells that are in your bone marrow and make blood cells is damaged. These cells divide and regroup rapidly and are known as an acquired mutation. Once again, CML cells have a high survival rate and begin to compete with healthy blood cells for resources and dominance in function. You’ll feel very sick and tired of you have CML for this reason. However, CML does not affect the number or function of existing healthy blood cells and is not as dangerous.

You will have lower than a healthy blood cell, white blood cell, and platelet counts. People with CML are more likely to become anemic because of this – they always feel sick and tired and have difficulty breathing. You are more likely to develop neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and paraphrenia.


You have cancer in your lymph system if you get lymphoma. The lymph system is vast and includes the blood vessels in your lymph nodes, spleen, and thymus gland. These are strategic vessels because they store and transport the white blood cells that form your immune system. You have a particular type of white blood cell called a lymphocyte. Leukemia cells will develop here. Lymphoma is classified into two different types:

  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

This develops in the B lymphocytes, which are a particular type of immune cell. B lymphocytes are important because they make antibodies, which are the proteins that give your immune system; it needs to fight off diseases, viruses, and germs. You will develop Reed- Steinberg cells if you have Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. These are large lymphocytes in the lymph nodes.

You develop Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when the DNA in your lymphocytes mutates. You’ll receive chemotherapy and radiation treatment. However, this type of treatment you get depends on the severity and type of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that you have, your medical history, and your physical condition and health. In extreme cases, you may get stem cells transplanted into your bone marrow, but this is generally used as a last resort treatment.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

NHL is a cancer of the blood cells that starts in your lymph nodes and your organs’ lymphatic tissues. Some people develop NHL in their bone marrow and blood cells. NHL is a set of individual cancers that span a diverse range in terms of blood cancer and begin in your lymphocytes. You can get NHL in one place, or in multiple organs in your body. NHL is grouped into two categories:

  • Indolent (slow growth)
  • Aggressive (fast growth)

You’ll develop NHL when the DNA in your lymph nodes and lymphatic structure warps. NHL can develop in any of these three lymphocytes:

  • B Lymphocytes (B cells). This is the most dangerous type of NHL because these immune cells make the antibodies that your body needs to fight infections effectively. This is also the most common type of lymphoma because 85-90% of all NHL cases are in this category.
  • T Lymphocytes (T Cells). These are multi-functional and help B cells make antibodies
  • Natural Killer (NK) cells which kill tumors and cells which viruses affect.

NHL can be deadly because it is caused by strange lymphocytes, which overgrow and out of control. It can metastasize quickly for this reason. These dysfunctional cells begin to form tumors rapidly that either displace or kill healthy white blood cells. You will get sick consistently and always feel tired because you will have a weaker immune system. Doctors have identified more than 60 different types of NHL, which are either indolent (slow-growing) or aggressive (fast-growing.)


Myeloma is a form of blood cancer that affects plasma cells and starts in the bone marrow. The particular type of blood cell transformed is the Plasma B cell, which belongs to the white blood cell family. African Americans are 200% more likely to develop it than Anglo-Americans. Myeloma has four different forms:

  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Plasmacytoma
  • Localized Myeloma
  • Extramedullary Myeloma

Multiple Myeloma

Approximately 90% of myeloma cases belong to this category, making it the most common form of myeloma. Because it metastasizes quickly, it often affects several organs in different parts of the body.


If you have this type of myeloma, you’ll develop tumors in a localized part of your body, like your spleen, stomach, or lungs.

  • Localized Myeloma
  • Extramedullary Myeloma

It affects outside tissues like skin, muscle, and lung tissues.

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