What are blood and lymph cancers?

There are many types of cancers that can affect the blood and lymphatic (lim-FA-tik) systems, also known as hematologic (HEE-muh-tuh-LAH-jik) cancers. They can generally be separated into these categories:

Lymphocytic or lymphoblastic leukemia (LIM-foh-SIH-tik or LIM-foh-BLAS-tik loo-KEE-mee-uh)

This type of cancer causes an overproduction of abnormal white blood cells called lymphocytes. They can’t fight infection like normal cells, and they leave less room for healthy blood. The acute type advances quickly and usually occurs in children aged 2 to 5, while the chronic form is slower and more commonly occurs in people in their 60s and above, especially men.

Myeloid leukemia (MY-eh-loyd loo-KEE-mee-uh)

Myeloid, or myelogenous, leukemia causes overproduction of other white blood cells called myeloid cells, which eventually develop into other types of blood cells. These abnormal cells called myelocytes also cannot fight infection, and the symptoms can be very similar to lymphoblastic leukemia. Myeloid leukemia can be either chronic or acute.

Based on your diagnosis, your oncologist will explain all of your treatment options and create a plan for your specific needs and goals.

Lymphoma (lim-FOH-muh)

This is a type of cancer that causes an overproduction of lymphocytes, similar to leukemia. When the abnormal cells form a mass or tumor, it is known as lymphoma. They can be categorized as non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HOJ-kins lim-FOH-muh). If your oncologist detects a type of cell called a Reed-Sternberg cell, it is Hodgkin’s lymphoma. All other types are non-Hodgkin’s.

Multiple myeloma (MUL-tih-pul MY-eh-LOH-muh)

Plasma cells are important parts of our bone marrow that create antibodies to help us fight off infection. Multiple myeloma is the most common type of plasma cancer and causes plasma cells to produce abnormal proteins rather than antibodies. Symptoms often include bone pain and excessive thirst.

Our dedicated approach to treatment of blood and lymph cancers

At the Northwell Health Cancer Institute at Phelps, we don’t just treat cancer—we treat the whole patient. Our doctors, surgeons, and other team members work together to create a unique plan for you based on your particular diagnosis, health history, and personal needs. As part of the Northwell Health family, we have access to their vast clinical resources as well as the Adult Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program. This is one of the largest programs in the New York metropolitan area and is accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy.

We will make every effort to provide convenient and local treatment options, so you can focus on your cancer battle. Our doctors take a collaborative approach, and will always consult with the most qualified specialists, including experts in pathology, genomics, and hematological malignancies (muh-LIG-nun-sees).

Call the Cancer Institute for more information.

commission on cancer logo

As a testament to our quality of care, we have been designated as a Community Cancer Program by the Commission on Cancer.

Learn more about the symptoms and risk factors of blood and lymph cancers.
Quality leukemia care
The Northwell Health Cancer Institute is home to one of the largest leukemia programs in the country.

Some of the other services available through the extensive Northwell Health network include:

  • National Cancer Institute and pharmaceutical-industry sponsored clinical trials
  • Personalized leukemia treatments and chemotherapy
  • Management of less common leukemias, including prolymphocytic (proh-LIM-foh-SIH-tik) and hairy cell leukemia

Your oncologist will explain all of your treatment options and create a plan for your specific needs and goals. You’ll work closely with a dedicated team of specialists in medical oncology, surgical oncology, and radiation oncology who will collaborate to ensure seamless coordination of your care.

physician discussing with cancer patient
nurse helping a patient in a wheelchair
We’re here to support you on every step of your journey

We know that every patient’s cancer diagnosis and journey is unique. We offer a variety of coordinated support services right here at Phelps Hospital. Our support program includes oncology nurse navigators, oncology nutritionists, social workers, and others who are dedicated to coordinating your care and ensuring your needs are met. Our unique hospitality team will make sure you have a comfortable stay while you’re with us.

Explore the support program

As a part of the Northwell Health system, we have access to a network of research laboratories and hospitals performing cutting-edge cancer trials. For more information, please consult your doctor.

technician organizing blood samples