What Are the Top Blood Cancer Symptoms?


Blood cancer occurs in your lymphatic system, which shields your body against infections or in the bone marrow with tissues responsible for blood formation. Also referred to as hematologic cancer, it occurs due to abnormal growth of blood cells, which interferes with the way blood cells perform. There are three major types of blood cancer, such as:


This form of blood cancer targets the plasma cells called lymphocytes, which produce antibodies to prevent infections. It damages the immune system of your body, making it prone to all infections.


This blood cancer attacks your lymphatic system, especially the lymph nodes and lymphocytes. It is also called non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Hodgkin’s disease. Lymphoma is the common type affecting adults and most of the cancer cases diagnosed experience blood cancer symptoms.


This type affects the white blood cells and prevents them from fighting against infections. Leukemia cancer symptoms will vary, as it has various stages like myeloid leukemia targeting immune cells, lymphocytic leukemia affecting lymphocytes, or chronic or acute leukemia. This type of blood cancer mostly affects kids aged below 15 years.

Symptoms of Blood cancer

Blood cancer symptoms tend to vary according to the type of blood cancer, but some symptoms are common among all three types. These are:


This feeling of constant tiredness and weakness is one of the notable signs of cancer in blood, which might prevent you from performing everyday activities.

Severe Bone Pain:

Chronic bone pain or tenderness in bone joints are common myeloma and leukemia symptoms.

Persistent Fever:

Fever is one of the major signs and symptoms of blood cancer which emerges when your body fights against an infection or responds to the abnormal growth of cancerous cells.

Swollen Lymph Nodes:

Inflammation of lymph nodes, spleen, or enlarged liver are all common blood cancer symptoms.

Sudden Weight Loss:

Unexplained drastic weight loss within a short period of time between six and twelve months without following any diet or workouts is another symptom of blood cancer.

Night Sweats:

One of the noticeable signs and symptoms of blood cancer is waking up from sleep drenched with night sweats. As these night sweats can wet your clothes and bedding, your sleep quality will also be affected.

Unusual Bruising or Bleeding:

Experiencing unusual bruising or bleeding, which doesn’t stop or heal even after a couple of weeks is one of the worrying signs of cancer in blood.

Frequent Infections:

The first one among leukemia symptoms is developing frequent infections when your immune system gets compromised by cancer cells.

Symptoms in Different Skin Tones

People with different types of skin tones will experience variations in blood cancer symptoms. These include:

Pallor or Paleness

Your skin might look pale when the number of red blood cells is very low. Light-skinned people will have a noticeable pallor as one of blood cancer symptoms while dark-skinned people might have pale-looking palms and grey skin tone. Some might even have pallor in their nail beds, tongue, gums, and lips. Pallor can be identified easily among all skin tones just by pulling their lower eyelids. The inside of the lower eyelid is usually red or pink, but if it is white or pink, it indicates pallor.

Skin Rashes

Rashes might surface as huge blotches called purpura or tiny spots called petechiae, one of the major signs of cancer in blood. Dark-skinned people will have dark purple rashes and light-coloured people will have reddish or purple patches, which don’t fade upon pressing it.


Bruises are one of the highly noticeable blood cancer symptoms, which develop as red-coloured patches and later get darker with time. These bruises are tender to touch and become visible as soon as they begin to develop a dark hue.

How Is Blood Cancer Diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will begin the diagnosis based on your signs and symptoms of blood cancer. It will include physical examinations, imaging tests and blood work. The blood tests will help determine which type of blood cancer symptoms you might have. The tests that you will be required to take are:

CBC or Complete Blood Count

The CBC test will offer a complete report on the blood cell count in your body. If your doctor suspects that you may have leukemia symptoms, he will look for the presence of a high amount of white blood cells, and consider the platelet count and the reading of red blood cells.

Blood Tests

Based on your blood cancer symptoms, your physician may suggest blood protein testing based on the electrophoresis process to identify specific blood proteins. These proteins are known as immunoglobulins, which are secreted by myeloma as a defence mechanism of your immune system.

Circulating Tumour Cell Test

It is one of the latest types of blood test for cancer which identifies circulating tumour cells present in the bloodstream. This test will reveal whether the cancer is metastasizing or spreading. As several blood cancer symptoms are common, this test will help identify specific cancer types like colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer.

CT Scan

Computed tomography scan comprises a series of 3D images and X-rays of your bones and tissues to check for bone damage.

MRI Scan

A magnetic resonance imaging scan will help determine signs of cancer in blood to check the extent of its effect on the spine.

Bone Marrow Biopsy

This test will determine the alterations in your DNA, which cause the spread of cancerous cells by studying the samples from bone marrow

Treatments for Blood Cancer

While some blood cancer symptoms respond well to treatments; some might have serious side effects. Your doctor might suggest some of the treatments listed below.

  • Chemotherapy: This primary form of treatment for blood cancer combats cancer cells or slows down the progress to prevent its spread.
  • Immunotherapy: It is based on your immune system to combat cancer. The treatment promotes the number of immune cells in your body to fight against cancer.
  • Radiation Therapy: Radiation treatment targets the affected cells which damaged the DNA to ease the major leukemia symptoms.
  • Targeted Therapy: It focuses on genetic mutations or changes, which transform healthy cells into affected cells.
  • Autologous Stem Cell Transplant: This treatment replaces the affected cells with protected stem cells collected prior to chemotherapy to prevent serious side effects. CAR T-cell therapy: This treatment changes the white blood cell called T-cell to make it more effective for treating leukemia cancer symptoms. It is useful for all three types of blood cancer.

Blood Cancer Survival Rates

Based on a report by SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results), there is a five-year survival rate for people diagnosed with leukaemia, which accounts for 66.7%. The survival rate for cancer patients has improved rapidly over the last 50 years. The rates are:

  • Patients with Myeloma: 59.8%
  • Patients with Hodgkin lymphoma: 88.9%
  • Patients with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma: 74.3%

Summing Up

Thanks to the latest effective treatments, more people have survived the blood cancer effects and led a healthy life than in the past years. However, blood cancer is a serious condition, which must not be ignored. If you are facing any of the signs of cancer in blood, contact your healthcare professional today to discuss the treatment options.