Blood Cancer

At Harley Street at University College Hospital we offer specialist care for blood cancers. From initial diagnostic tests, to complex care and beyond, our experienced team are here to guide and support you through your treatment.

Working with leading Consultant Haematologists means we can provide the expertise and focus to ensure you receive the best possible care. We can treat all blood cancers and have been awarded JACIE accreditation for our bone marrow and stem cell transplant service.

Types of Blood Cancer

Lymphoma+

Lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system, part of the body’s immune system, there are two main types of Lymphoma, Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin.

Hodgkin Lymphoma

Hodgkin Lymphoma causes abnormalities to your lymphocytes (blood cells). These abnormal cells (lymphoma cells) divide and grow more rapidly than normal blood cells, and over time these cells form a lump that we refer to as a tumour.

Hodgkin lymphoma can occur in any part of the body but the most common area is the lymph nodes in the neck, other common places include under the arms, in the groin or in the chest. Hodgkin Lymphoma may just affect cells in one group of lymph nodes; however it is common for lymphoma cells to be found in more than one group of lymph nodes around the body, this is because they can travel through the lymphatic system.

Hodgkin Lymphoma can also affect organs in the body, and often the spleen, lungs, liver or bone marrow can be affected. This is because lymphoma cells can spread through the bloodstream.

Whilst Hodgkin Lymphoma can be found it multiple sites within the body it often responds very well to treatment and can be cured or managed well for many years.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) causes abnormalities to your lymphocytes (blood cells). These abnormal cells (lymphoma cells) divide and grow more rapidly than normal blood cells, and over time these cells form a lump that we refer to as a tumour.

There are different types of NHL, these are categorised into B-cell lymphomas or T-cell lymphomas depending on which cells the lymphoma originated in.

B-cell Lymphoma

B-cell Lymphomas are more common than T-cell Lymphomas and the most common of these are:

  • Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
  • Follicular lymphoma

There are other kinds of B-cell lymphomas which are less common your consultant and medical team will discuss your diagnosis with you in detail and explain the different types of treatment available to you.

T-cell Lymphoma

T-cell Lymphomas are less common and there a different types including:

  • Peripheral T-cell lymphoma
  • Cutaneous (skin) lymphoma
  • Anaplastic large cell lymphoma
  • T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma

Your consultant and medical team will discuss your diagnosis with you in detail and explain the different types of treatment available to you.

Leukaemia+

Leukaemia is cancer within the white blood cells, Leukaemia creates more white blood cells than the body needs. There are four main types of leukaemia which are categorised by whether they are fast (acute) or slow (chronic) growing.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL)

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) is a rare cancer, that causes white blood cells that divide and grow abnormally outside of the body’s control. The signals produced by the body to prevent the excessive growth of cells are ignored and the cells continue to divide and do not grow into normal blood cells (lymphocytes).

ALL causes too many immature blood cells to form, these cells are called blast cells (lymphoblasts), as the cells do not mature they are not able to fight infection, as normal white blood cells do. These blast cells overcrowd the bone marrow and there is not enough room for the healthy white and red cells or the platelets needed for your body to function normally.

There are different types of ALL, your consultant and medical team will discuss your diagnosis with you in detail and explain the different types of treatment available to you.

Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)

Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) is a rare cancer, that commonly causes white blood cells to develop abnormally, AML can also occur when the body creates too many red blood cells or platelets but this is less common.

Our bone marrow produces the blood cells we need to keep our body’s functioning normally, in AML too many immature blast cells (white blood cells) are created , these cells overcrowd the bone marrow which is then unable to create enough healthy (mature) cells.

These immature leukaemia cells travel in the blood and circulate around the body, because they do not work properly this can lead to an increased risk of infection. This can also cause symptoms such as bruising and anaemia as fewer mature red blood cells and platelets are being produced.

There are different types of AML, your consultant and medical team will discuss your diagnosis with you in detail and explain the different types of treatment available to you.

Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia

Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML) is a cancer that affects the white blood cells, these cells are called granulocytes. CML usually develops slowly, and this is why it is categorised as ‘chronic’.

In CML abnormal granulocytes do not form properly and overcrowd the bone marrow that is then unable to create healthy cells. These cells can also collect in the spleen, this organ is responsible for storing our blood cells and destroying older damaged cells, the abnormal cells cause the spleen to become enlarged.

Your consultant and medical team will discuss your diagnosis with you in detail and explain the different types of treatment available to you.

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) is the most common form of Leukaemia, it usually develops very slowly and this is why it is categorised as ‘chronic’.

CLL is a cancer affecting the white blood cells causing the body to produce too many abnormal cells (lymphocytes). When these cells are examined microscopically they appear to be normal, but they aren’t fully developed and therefore are unable to work properly.

Over a period of time these cells build up in the lymphatic system and can cause swollen lymph nodes, they may also build up and overcrowd the bone marrow, preventing it for being able to create enough healthy white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.

Sometimes CLL does not need immediate treatment and may people will not need treatment for several months or years. However if you are experiencing symptoms you may need treatment sooner.

Your consultant and medical team will discuss your diagnosis with you in detail and explain the different types of treatment available to you.

Myeloma+

Myeloma is a cancer affecting plasma cells (a type of white blood cells) in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is found inside our bones, such as our hip bones, arm and leg bones, breast bone, our ribs and spine. Bone marrow is part of our immune system and helps to protect us from disease and infection.

Plasma cells create immunoglobulins, also referred to as antibodies. These immunoglobulins are responsible for fighting bacteria and viruses in our bodies, by circulating through our blood. Immunoglobulins contain proteins that are linked together to form ‘chains’. These chains are either ‘heavy’ chains or ‘light’ chains depending on the make up of the immunoglobulins.

Our bodies control the creation of new plasma cells which replace old worn up plasma cells, myeloma disrupts this process and causes a large number of abnormal plasma cells (myeloma cells) to form. These abnormal cells can spread throughout our bodies through our bone marrow, and myeloma can form in any part of the body where there are plasma cells, this is why myeloma is sometimes referred to as multiple myeloma.

Abnormal plasma cells can overcrowd the bone marrow, this means there is not enough space for the bone marrow to create normal blood cells and platelets. They can also cause damage to bones, this can cause thinning to the bone and fractures.

There are different types of Myeloma, your consultant and medical team will discuss your diagnosis with you in detail and explain the different types of treatment available to you.

Amyloidosis+

Amyloidosis is a group of diseases that cause abnormal protein (amyloid) to form. These amyloid proteins (or amyloid deposits) can build up in organs or tissues and cause problems. Amyloidosis itself is not cancer but can be connected to Myeloma.

There are different types of Amyloidosis, your consultant and medical team will discuss your diagnosis with you in detail and explain the different types of treatment available to you.