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What do you know about blood — besides the fact that it’s red?
Blood cells form in bone marrow — the spongy tissue inside certain bones.
All blood cells originate from stem cells, which divide and then turn into red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets.
A complete blood count measures the types and numbers of cells in blood. A primary care doctor may order it as part of a routine checkup or if signs and symptoms suggest a problem with blood cells. These signs and symptoms can include the following:
Many people who have a blood disorder have a noncancerous condition, such as anemia — which is when the body doesn't have enough red blood cells.
Other possible problems include the blood cancers: leukemia and lymphoma.
Leukemia — whether acute or chronic — is a cancer of white blood cells. It is typically found in the blood and bone marrow.
And even though it's considered a blood cancer, lymphoma tends to affect the lymphatic system — which is part of the immune system and includes your lymph nodes, bone marrow, liver and spleen.
There are two types of leukemia: lymphoid and myeloid. Both can be chronic or acute. Chronic leukemia is slow growing. Acute leukemia is much more aggressive.
The most common leukemia we see at Rush is chronic lymphocytic leukemia, which mainly affects older adults. This cancer grows so slowly that it often doesn’t need treatment.
Chronic myeloid leukemia is something that we do treat — with a non-chemotherapy drug that targets a specific genetic abnormality in the leukemia cell. This targeted therapy has done wonders for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia: It allows them to live with the disease as a chronic condition.
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