Know the Types of Blood Cancer and their Symptoms

There are three types of blood cancer according to the origin of the cancer cells. The three types of blood cancer have different symptoms. Let's learn more about the types, symptoms, and causes of blood cancer.

Blood cancer occurs when blood cells grow abnormally and out of control. As a result, these cells cannot function properly and interfere with the production of other blood cells.

Blood cells themselves can be divided into 3 types, namely red blood cells (which carry oxygen), platelets (role in the blood clotting process), and white blood cells (to fight infection).

Types and Symptoms of Blood Cancer

There are various types of blood cancer which are named after the origin of the cancer cells. In general, blood cancer is divided into 3 types, namely:


Leukemia is a type of blood cancer that originates from white blood cells. In this condition, immature white blood cells divide rapidly, but do not develop into mature cells.

Blood cells that do not develop properly will continue to divide until more and more in the bone marrow. As a result, the function of the bone marrow in producing normal blood cells is disrupted.

Based on the development of the disease, leukemia is further divided into two types, namely acute leukemia which develops very quickly and chronic leukemia which develops slowly, and it takes several years for symptoms to appear.

In addition to the development of the disease, leukemia can also be categorized according to the type of cells affected. There are four types of leukemia, namely:

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
  • Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)

Signs and symptoms of leukemia can include:

  • Anemia, with signs such as easy fatigue, dizziness, paleness, or shortness of breath.
  • Blood clotting disorders, characterized by easy bruising, easy bleeding (usually on the gums), heavy menstrual blood, and bloody or black stools.
  • Get infected easily, have a fever, or sweat at night.
  • Enlargement of the spleen and liver.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Weight loss for no apparent reason.

Some signs and symptoms of blood cancer do not always appear in people with leukemia. Therefore, to properly diagnose it, it is necessary to carry out a physical examination by a doctor accompanied by supporting examinations, such as routine blood tests and bone marrow aspiration.


Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that attacks the lymphatic system, including the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland, tonsils, and bone marrow.

The lymphatic system functions to carry lymph fluid consisting of white blood cells called lymphocytes. The lymphatic system plays a role in the body's defense, especially in fighting infection.

There are many types of lymphoma, with different symptoms and treatment. But broadly speaking, lymphoma is divided into two types, namely Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Symptoms of lymphoma are sometimes not typical, but the condition can be suspected if complaints arise in the form of:

  • Painless enlarged lymph nodes, especially in the neck, armpit, or groin.
  • Weight loss.
  • Fever.
  • Tired and often weak.
  • Hard to breathe.
  • Itchy rash.
  • Cold sweat at night.
  • Weight loss.


Myeloma is a blood cancer that originates from plasma cells in the bone marrow. Plasma cells play a role in making proteins called antibodies (immunoglobulins) to fight infection.

In patients with myeloma, plasma cells that have cancer will make abnormal antibodies. These antibodies do not fight infection well, and can even reduce the number of normal antibodies that are made.

Myeloma cells can spread from the bone marrow to the hardest parts of the bone, causing bone tissue destruction. Myeloma can affect several bones, so it is often referred to as multiple myeloma.

Signs and symptoms of myeloma in its early stages tend to be vague. But over time, this type of blood cancer can show some symptoms in the form of:

  • Bone pain
  • Bones break easily
  • tingling
  • Weak and pale due to lack of blood
  • Easy bruising and bleeding of the gums
  • Easy to get infected
  • Kidney disorders
  • Increased levels of calcium in the blood due to damaged bone cells

Causes of Blood Cancer

So far the exact cause why someone can develop blood cancer is still unknown. However, there are several factors that are known to increase a person's risk for developing blood cancer, namely:

  • Have a family member with blood cancer.
  • Frequent exposure to toxic substances, such as fertilizers, chemical waste from factories, fumes, or cleaning products.
  • Be infected with certain viruses, such as HIV, Epstein-Barr, hepatitis, or herpes.
  • Have undergone chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
  • Frequent exposure to radiation or radioactive substances.

Age factor also often affects the type of blood cancer suffered. ALL leukemia most commonly affects children aged 3-5 years. Meanwhile, lymphoma, myeloma, and AML type leukemia, mostly attack adults and the elderly.

Blood Cancer Drug

After being diagnosed, blood cancer treatment will be given according to the type of blood cancer suffered, as well as the age and health condition of the sufferer. Treatment can include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and drugs to kill cancer cells.

In some cases, the oncologist may also suggest surgery, such as a bone marrow transplant or removal of the spleen.

The success rate of treatment for blood cancer varies. But usually, the earlier the cancer is diagnosed and treated, the greater the chance of recovery. Therefore, if you experience any of the signs and symptoms above, immediately consult a doctor.

Written by:

dr. Dina Kusumawardhani