Hematology is the study of blood disorders, both benign and cancerous. It covers a diverse, highly specialized mix of diseases that involve blood cells, platelets, blood vessels, bone marrow, the spleen and lymph nodes.
Every day, bone marrow in the human body creates red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. When something in this process goes wrong, it causes blood disorders such as anemia, low platelets, too many blood cells or blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. There are also blood disorders that cause blood clots.
Hematologic conditions are diagnosed through blood tests and bone marrow biopsies. Many new advances have resulted in medications that treat blood disorders.
In addition to providing treatment for malignant blood disorders, MCC also treats patients with benign blood conditions. So not everyone who comes to MCC has been diagnosed with cancer.
The most common blood disorder, anemia occurs when the body does not produce enough red blood cells or when red blood cells malfunction. People with anemia often look pale and feel dizzy, lightheaded and weak. Anemia can also cause irregular heartbeats, headaches and chest pain.
When an injury occurs that causes bleeding, platelets and proteins come together to form a blood clot. After the injury heals, the blood clot dissolves naturally. Sometimes, however, blood clots form in veins and arteries unexpectedly. This can be dangerous and can cause swelling in the limbs, headaches, chest pain and shortness of breath.
Found in the blood and bone marrow, leukemia occurs when the body produces too many abnormal white blood cells. These cells prevent the bone marrow from producing red blood cells and platelets. People with leukemia often feel fatigued, and have fevers and abnormal blood counts.
Accounting for almost half of all blood cancers, lymphoma affects the lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, groin, chest and abdomen. Sometimes lymphocytes (white blood cells that fight infection) grow and divide abnormally, causing tumors. This occurs in the lymph nodes and can compromise your immune system. Symptoms of lymphoma include swollen lymph nodes, fever, weakness and fatigue.