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Home >> Specialities >> Cancer Care >> Haemato oncology

Haemato oncology

Haemato-oncology brings together two different specialities, i.e. Haematology and oncology. The former deals with blood-related diseases and disorders, whereas the latter focuses on the diagnosis, assessment, treatment and management of various malignancies. Haemato-oncology is a highly specialized branch of oncology that specifically deals with malignancies related to blood. These include leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. With over 1.24 million cases of cancer being diagnosed annually, these account for 6 per cent of all malignancies. 

What is Haematological Cancer?
Haematological Cancer is an umbrella term used for the malignancies of the blood, bone marrow and lymphatic system. These are marked by uncontrolled cell division of any of the three components of the blood, i.e. red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Most of these malignancies originate from the bone marrow. Haematological cancers are either acute or chronic. Acute Haematological cancers progress at a very fast pace whereas chronic haematological cancers grow slowly.

What are the different types of Haematological Cancer?
Haematological Cancers can be of several different types. These include:

  • Leukaemia - It is a type of malignancy involving the white blood cells and is marked by their uncontrolled cell multiplication
  • Lymphoma - It is cancer that involves the lymphatic system, which includes the lymph nodes, spleen and thymus.  
  • Myeloma - It is cancer that involves the plasma cells, i.e., the white blood cells that play a crucial role in the production of antibodies 
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) - These are marked by the build-up of immature blood cells in the body, which are incapable of carrying out any function 
  • Myeloproliferative Disorder (MPD) - It is cancer triggered by abnormal changes within the stem cells that are found inside the bone marrow 

What causes Haematological Cancer? 
Haematological Cancers are the result of abnormal DNA mutations that lead to uncontrolled cell division. These mutations can either be genetic or a result of an external factor. Some of the common risk factors that are known to elevate one’s chances of developing blood cancer include:

  • Age
  • Gender 
  • Exposure to certain chemicals 
  • Being exposed to harmful radiation 
  • Pre-existing health conditions and their treatments

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