Haematology Cancer Services
Haematology involves the diagnosis and treatment of patients who have disorders of the blood. Haematological cancer affects the cells of the blood or lymphatic system, the service at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust provides care for all haematological cancers.
Our service offers diagnosis and treatment for a comprehensive range of blood disorders including cancer and non-cancer conditions. We aim to offer the latest treatments complemented by first class support services to provide personalised care of the highest quality.
There are many different types of haematological cancers and a range of treatment options available.
Please click on the plus signs below for more information of the different type of blood cancers.
Leukaemia is a cancer of the blood cells. If you have leukaemia, your body makes some abnormal blood cells. These leukaemia cells behave differently from healthy blood cells.
Different types of leukaemia are named according to:
- the type of blood cell which is affected
- whether the leukaemia is acute (faster growing) or chronic (slower growing).
There are many different types of Leukaemia
Acute myeloid leukaemia
Acute myeloid leukaemia is a rare cancer of blood cells, it affects a type of cell called myeloid cells. It can cause symptoms very quickly and usually needs to be treated as soon as possible after diagnosis.
Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is a rare cancer of white blood cells. It affects a type of cell called lymphocytes. It can cause symptoms very quickly and usually needs to be treated as soon as possible after diagnosis.
Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
This is the most common type of leukaemia. It affects a type of cell called lymphocytes. It develops slowly and often causes no symptoms in the early stages.
Chronic myeloid leukaemia
This is a rare cancer of white blood cells. It affects a type of cell called myeloid cells. It usually develops very slowly. For most people, it can be well controlled and they will live a normal lifespan.
Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system helps protect us from infection and disease. It is part of the body’s immune system.
There are many types of lymphoma. Different types develop and are treated in different ways. A doctor can only find out your lymphoma type by collecting some lymphoma cells and testing them in a laboratory.
The two main sub-types are:
- Hodgkin lymphoma
- non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Myeloma, also known as multiple myeloma, is a type of blood cancer arising from plasma cells.
These are a type of white blood cells, which are made in the bone marrow. Normal plasma cells form part of your immune system, and they make antibodies (also known as immunoglobulins).
In myeloma, a plasma cell develops abnormally and multiplies and these abnormal cells spread through the bone marrow.
They produce a version of an antibody which has no useful function, called a paraprotein. It is this paraprotein which is often detected in the blood.
Myeloma can cause a number of medical problems, such as kidney damage, anaemia, bone pain, lesions and fractures.
The most common symptoms include fatigue, recurrent infections, kidney problems and bone pain.
Myeloma is not currently curable, but it is very treatable, and the aim of treatment is to control the disease, relieve the symptoms and prolong life.
Myeloma is a relapsing-remitting disease, which means that there are times when treatment is needed, and periods when the disease does not require treatment. Treatment is usually with combinations of different drugs.
It is important to remember that the symptoms below can be caused by conditions other than cancer. However, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should see your GP who may refer you for further investigation.
- looking pale, feeling tired and breathless. These are symptoms of anaemia, which is caused by a lack of red blood cells
- getting more infections than usual, due to a lack of white blood cells
- unusual bleeding, caused by a lack of platelets which help the blood to clot
- feeling run down or generally unwell
- fevers and sweats.
Other symptoms can include bone pain, enlarged lymph glands (lumps in the neck) and kidney problems.
Most individuals have had at least one medical test below are some of teh diagnostic tests you may require.
Some of our bloos tests can take a few days and in some cases weeks to come back with the results, you will be advised if this is the case.
Bone Marrow biopsy
A bone marrow biopsy is an investigation that allows your doctor to assess your bone marrow.
The bone marrow is responsible for the production of blood cells. These are:
- red cells, which carry oxygen around your body
- white blood cells, which fight infection; and
- platelets whose job is to help stop bleeding.
X-rays, CT Scans, PET-CT and MRI's
Three common types of imaging devices are x-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) tests.
X-rays are the most used diagnostic imaging test and are widely available. They are a form of radiation, and when passing through your body, bone and other dense objects block the radiation and look white on the film of the x-ray. The less dense tissues are hard to see and appear gray. The doctor will position the part of your body for scanning between the digital x-ray sensor or photographic film and x-ray machine. While the machine sends the radiation briefly through your body, you need to stay still.
Generates high-quality, detailed images of the body. It’s a more powerful and sophisticated x-ray that takes a 360-degree image of the spine, vertebrae and internal organs. You may have a contrast dye injected into your blood so the doctor can see your body structures more clearly on the CT scan.
The PET CT scan helps the physician to see the level of activity of certain body organs and tissues, along with their structure. You’ll receive a substance called a “tracer” containing glucose with a little bit of radioactive material. The radiation dose in the tracer is safe and minimal for most individuals. The tracer will be swallowed, inhaled or injected, depending on the examined body part.
MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging and combines a strong magnet with radio waves. A computer operates the magnetic components, creating incredibly detailed images of body structures. The doctor views the images as “slices” or cross-sections of the scanned body part. Unlike x-rays, there’s no radiation involved.
Tissue/lymph node biopsy
Usually, a biopsy is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of lymphoma and categorise the type of lymphoma. A biopsy is the removal of a small sample of tissue – usually from a lymph node, but sometimes from an organ or where there is abnormal tissue growth which is thought likely to be a cancer.
Types of biopsy include:
- Excisional biopsy – where a whole lymph node is removed – this is a minor operation and may be under either local or general anaesthetic, depending on where the lymph node is.
- Incisional Biopsy - as above, but only part of the node or mass is removed
- Core Biopsy – this is usually done with the guidance of ultrasound or CT, and a sampling needle is used to remove some of the tissue. This may require a few hours in the hospital, but not an overnight stay. Sometimes, a core biopsy doesn’t give enough information to make the diagnosis, and a surgical biopsy is needed.
Biopsy results take 1-2 weeks to be fully reported.
Treatment for haematological cancers can consist of chemotherapy, radiotherapy or both and, in some more advanced conditions, a bone marrow/stem cell transplant.
Radiotherapy is the use of carefully controlled (high energy) X-rays, to treat cancer.
It can be given as a single session or as multiple sessions depending on the type of cancer you have. The organs and tissues of the body are made up of tiny building blocks called cells. The treatment is given in such a way that the X-rays destroy cancer cells while doing as little harm as possible to normal cells.
Please click the following link to view and download a booklet on Understanding Radiotherapy.
Chemotherapy (“chemo”) is a treatment with drugs which destroy or control the growth of cancer cells. These maybe given as tablets or by injection or an infusion (sometimes termed as a drip) into the vein. There are many different types of chemotherapy drugs, which can be used in combination with each other. This is because different drugs destroy the cancer cells in different ways. Because chemotherapy can affect normal cells in the body as well, this sometimes causes unpleasant side effects. However, normal cells will usually re-grow and heal quickly, so the damage to the normal cell is only temporary.
Please click the following link to view and download a booklet on Understanding Chemotherapy.
Please see links to external websites for additional information. Plase click on the highlighted words, these links will then open in a new page.
Blood Cancer UK - Blood Cancer UK is the leading blood cancer research charity
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia Support - A patient led UK charity to support and empower Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia patients their families and supporters through education and information.
Leukaemia Care - A national blood cancer support charity
Lymphoma Action - The UK's only charity dedicated to lymphoma
Macmillan Cancer Support - Charity providing physical, financial and emotional support
Myeloma - The only organisation in the UK which deals exclusively with myeloma
Teenage Cancer Trust - Charity providing care and support for young people with cancer