How does blood cancer start?
Cells are the tiny building blocks that our bodies are made of. Every second of every day your body is refreshing your cells by making new ones and destroying old ones.
DNA is a substance within your cells. It’s a kind of code that controls how cells develop, behave, and die. DNA is made up of small sections known as genes and packed into chromosomes in your cells.
If the DNA changes (mutates) in the stem cells that make your blood cells in your bone marrow, your blood cells might start to develop wrongly (abnormally), or fail to die when they should. These are the ‘cancerous’ or cancer cells.
The type of blood cancer you have generally depends on the type of blood cell that's affected.
- Leukaemia happens when your leukocytes (white blood cells) become cancerous.
- Lymphoma happens when your lymphocytes (a certain type of white blood cell) become cancerous.
- Myeloma happens when your plasma cells (a type of B lymphocyte) become cancerous.