Blood Related Cancers
Lymph nodes are small packets of tissue that serve to filter each individual organ. Lymph nodes are a part of the blood or hematological system. The largest organ in the lymphatic system, the spleen, is located under the ribcage and above the stomach on the left side. The spleen’s job is to help filter the blood and fight infection. When cancer occurs in the spleen, it can be a primary cancer, originating in that organ, or a secondary cancer that began elsewhere in the body. The majority of cancers that occur in the spleen are some type of lymphoma, a cancer that affects the lymphatic system. These include: lymphocytic or hairy cell leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Another type of cancer that appears in the spleen is leukemia, a blood cancer.
There are three types of blood related cancer: leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. There are many types of leukemia affecting the blood forming tissues of the body that includes bone marrow and the lymphatic system. Leukemia is caused by an abnormal and rapid production of blood cells in the bone marrow that affects the production of red blood cells and platelets. Multiple myeloma is blood cancer that begins in the blood’s plasma cells. Lymphoma is cancer of the lymph system. There are many types of lymphoma, one type is Hodgkin disease and others are called non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Both are blood cancer that develops in the lymphatic system from lymphocytes, a type of white blood cells, however, Hodgkin’s lymphoma is identified with the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells.
Whether cancer begins in the spleen or spreads to it, it may result in the organ enlarging. When this happens, you may not know about it until it is discovered in a physical examination by your doctor, as there may not be any symptoms. If symptoms do appear you may experience:
- Pain in the upper left side of your abdomen
- Frequent infections
- Swollen but not usually painful lymph nodes on the side of the neck and in the groin and armpits
- A feeling of fullness after eating a small meal
- Bruising easily
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
Treatment for lymphoma and leukemia are related to your general health and the stage of your disease.
Treatment options include:
- Chemotherapy: A therapy which involves being administered a drug that destroys cancer cells.
- Radiation: Therapy that uses high-powered radiation to attack cancer cells.
- Targeted/Immunotherapy Drugs: Targeted drugs that find abnormalities in cancer cells and immunotherapy that uses your own immunity to do so.
Treatment for spleen cancer can include surgery that removes all or part of the spleen, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.Previous Page Last Review Date: April 17, 2020