Types of Bone Marrow Cancer
Types of Bone Marrow Cancer and definition of bone marrow cancer: The type of bone marrow cancer diagnosis is determined by which cells are affected. Bone marrow cancer originates from the spongey tissue, or bone marrow, that exists within the bones. The bone marrows function in the body is to create healthy blood cells.
What are the different types of bone marrow cancer?
Types of bone marrow cancer include multiple myeloma, leukemia, and lymphoma.
Multiple myeloma (MM) is the most common type of bone marrow cancer. It occurs when cancer cells grow in the bone marrow. Tumors can form in multiple bones. MM occurs in the plasma cells that form in the bone marrow and these plasma cells are important in making antibodies that fight foreign bacteria in the body and aid the immune system. MM typically has a positive prognosis and many people do not need treatment.
Leukemia is a type of bone marrow cancer that affects the white blood cells. This type of cancer begins in blood cell types other than white blood cells and then begin to metastasize into the bone marrow. In acute leukemia, the tumors grow at a faster rate, while in chronic leukemia types, they grow slower. The different types of leukemia include:
- Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL): this type is more common in children than in adults
- Acute myeloid leukemia (AML): this leukemia type affects mostly older adults, but can also affect children
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL): this type of leukemia grows at a slow rate and first occurs in lymphocytes
- Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML): this type of leukemia is rare and it originates in the bone marrow
- Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML): this type develops and grows in the bone marrow cells that are in charge of producing blood cells; it mostly affects older adults
Lymphoma develops in the lymphocytes, which have the role of circulating blood and lymph tissue after being produced in the bone marrow.
The two main types of lymphoma that exist include:
- Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL): This type is able to form in any part of the body and it also affects multiple lymphocyte types.
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma: This type of lymphoma also affects lymphocytes, however, the differentiating factor from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is that it also contains the abnormal Reed-Sternberg cell
How is Each Type of Bone Marrow Cancer diagnosed?
Doctors will first ask about medical history, symptoms, and family history of bone marrow cancer before any tests are done that would confirm the diagnosis.
Tests to help diagnose bone marrow cancer include:
- Blood and urine tests: These detect a specific protein that is caused by multiple myeloma when it enters the circulation. Blood tests also help determine kidney function, electrolyte levels, and blood cell count.
- Bone marrow aspiration: For this test, doctors utilize needles to puncture the bone and withdraw a sample of bone marrow. A specialist then examines this same sample to detect any cancerous cells.
- Imaging: In order to check for abnormal and/or damaged bones, doctors may use X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, and PET scans.