Blood cancers occurs when different components of the blood have excessive, uncontrolled production. The type of cancers is classified based on the type of cells which are involved and are broadly divided into the myeloid or lymphoid family of cells. The maturity of these cells further determines their behaviour with the most immature cells being called blast cells. When blood cancer cells are predominantly found in the blood and bone marrow, the condition will be called a leukemia. People with blood cancers may present with symptoms such as fatigue, fever, swelling of the lymph nodes and abdominal organs or bleeding and clotting disorders. Their blood test may show abnormalities such as low or high cell blood counts.
Some of the more common blood cancers and useful information regarding them are listed below:
Patients with suspected blood cancers may be referred by their doctors to our General Haematology consult service for preliminary assessment and investigations. Further specialized investigations such as bone marrow studies, tissue biopsies and radiological scans are then conducted as necessary. Upon confirmation of the diagnosis, patients will come under the care of our Blood Cancer service which will prognosticate and plan the treatment and subsequent management. All cancer cases are discussed at our Department’s Tumour Board where our haematologists will provide their inputs and share their expertise to determine optimal management of our patients.
Should treatment be necessary, chemotherapy, immunotherapy or other targeted therapy may be use individually or in combination. This may be in oral or injection forms. Such treatment may be administered during hospitalisation or on an outpatient basis in our Haematology Centre. Home therapy is available for selected treatment regimens and patients.
Some patients may require additional treatment with stem cell transplant or cellular therapy to improve their treatment responses or for relapse of their cancers. Should this become necessary, they will be transitioned to the Haematopoietic Cell Therapy and Transplant service with the doctors in this subspecialty service handling the transplant and cellular therapy for patients requiring this enhanced treatment for their blood cancer.
As a tertiary treatment centre, we also run in-house and multi-centre national and international clinical trials which offers eligible patient access to novel therapies to help with their cancer treatment.
We also have a Cancer Survivorship service to support patients after they have completed their therapy.
Going through the diagnosis and treatment of cancers can be emotionally and psychologically challenging. To support our patients and their care-givers through this period, our team of experienced specialist nurses, medical social workers together with patient support groups are well-geared to provide care and counselling to our patients.
We are part of the Singhealth-Duke NUS Academic Medical Centre which brings together specialist from Singapore General Hospital (SGH), National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) and KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) to unify the delivery of care for patients.