Haematology

Haematology

Hematology or as known as Haematology is the branch of medicine concerned with the study of the cause, prognosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases related to blood. It involves treating diseases that affect the production of blood and its components, such as blood cells, hemoglobin, blood proteins, bone marrow, platelets, blood vessels, spleen, and the mechanism of coagulation. Such diseases might include hemophilia, blood clots, other bleeding disorders, and blood cancers such as leukemia, multiple myeloma, and lymphoma. The laboratory analysis of blood is frequently performed by a medical technologist or medical laboratory scientist.

Leukaemia

Leukaemia, is a group of blood cancers that usually begin in the bone marrow and result in high numbers of abnormal blood cells. These blood cells are not fully developed and are called blasts or leukaemia cells. Symptoms may include bleeding and bruising, fatigue, fever and an increased risk of infections. These symptoms occurs due to a lack of normal blood cells. Diagnosis is typically made by blood test or bone marrow biopsy.

The exact cause of leukaemia is unknown. A combination of genetic factors and environmental factors are believed to play a role. Risk factors include smoking, ionizing radiation, some chemicals, prior chemotherapy, and Down syndrome. People with a family history of leukaemia are also at higher risk. There are four main types of leukaemia – Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL), Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) and Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML) – as well as a number of less common type.

Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma (MM), also known as plasma cell myeloma and simply myeloma, is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that normally produces antibodies. Often no symptoms are noticed initially. As it progresses, bone pain, anemia, kidney dysfunction, and infections may occur. Complications may include amyloidosis.

The cause of multiple myeloma is unknown. Risk factors include obesity, radiation exposure, family history, and certain chemical. Multiple myeloma may develop from monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance that progresses to smoldering myeloma. The abnormal plasma cells produce abnormal antibodies, which can cause kidney problems and overly thick blood. The plasma cells can also form a mass in the bone marrow or soft tissue. When one tumor is present, it is called a plasmacytoma; more than one is called multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma is diagnosed based on blood or urine test finding abnormal antibodies, bone marrow biopsy finding cancerous plasma cells, and medical imaging finding bone lesions. Another common finding is high blood calcium levels.

Multiple myeloma is considered treatable, but generally incurable. Remissions may be brought about with steroids, chemotherapy, targeted therapy and stem cell transplant. Bisphosphonates and radiation therapy are sometimes used to reduce pain from bone lesions.

Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a group of blood malignancies that develop from lymphocytes. The name often refers to just the cancerous versions rather than all such tumours. Signs and symptoms may include enlarged lymph nodes, fever, drenching sweats, unintended weight loss, itching and constantly feeling tired. The enlarged lymph nodes are usually painless. The sweats are most common at night.

Risk factors for Hodgkin lymphoma include infection with Epstein-Barr virus and a history of the disease in the family. Risk factors for common types of Non-Hodgkin lymphomas include autoimmune diseases, HIV/AIDS, infection with human T-lymphotrophic virus, immunosuppressant medications, and some pesticides. Eating large amounts of red meats and tobacco smoking may also increase the risk. Diagnosis, if enlarged lymph nodes are present, is usually by lymph node biopsy. Blood, urine and bone marrow testing may also be useful in the diagnosis. Medical imaging may then be done to determine if and where the cancer has spread. Lymphoma most often spreads to the lungs, liver and brain.

Treatment may involve one or more of the following: Chemotherapy, Radiation Therapy, Proton Therapy, Targeted Therapy, and surgery.