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Hematological Malignancies and Blood Disorders

Through Mission Medical Oncology, Mission Health provides comprehensive services for blood cancers and other bleeding disorders. Our multidisciplinary health care team diagnoses, treats, and manages patients with a range of blood disorders, providing compassionate, convenient care.  Find the best doctor for you.

What Is Hematology?

Hematology is the study of blood and blood disorders, and hematologists are highly trained healthcare providers specializing in diseases of the blood, bone marrow and lymphatic systems.

What Are Blood Disorders?

A blood disorder occurs when there’s a problem with your red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets. All three of these cell types form in the soft tissue inside your bones, known as bone marrow. Oxygen is transported to your organs and tissues by red blood cells. White blood cells help your body fight infections. Platelets help your blood to clot. In the case of a blood disorder, one or more of these types of blood cells are found in an abnormal number or function.

Types of Blood Disorders

Our hematologists diagnose and treat many different blood disorders and blood diseases, including:

Red Blood Cell Disorders

Red blood cell disorders occur when there are deficiencies or abnormalities in the red blood cells, which are responsible for carrying oxygen to all parts of your body. This can include:

  • Anemia – This is the most common blood disorder, and occurs when the number of healthy red blood cells in your body is too low. The most common cause of anemia is not having enough iron.
  • Aplastic anemia – A type of anemia occurring when the bone marrow fails to produce enough red cells, white cells and platelets.
  • Polycythemia vera (PCV) – In this condition, the body makes too many red blood cells, leading to a thickening of the blood. It can be associated with an elevated platelet count and an enlarged spleen.
  • Sickle cell anemia – This is an inherited blood disorder. In sickle cell anemia, the blood cells are “C” shaped. Clumps of sickle cells block blood flow to the limbs and organs, and can cause pain, serious infection and organ damage.
  • Thalassemia – A hereditary blood disorder affecting hemoglobin, the molecule that carries oxygen.

White Blood Cell Disorders

White blood cell disorders occur when there are abnormalities in the production of white blood cells, which are responsible for helping your body fight infection. White blood cell disorders can include:

  • Leukemia – There are several types of leukemia. Most often, leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells. These diseases are classified according to how quickly the disease grows and the type of cells affected.
  • Lymphoma – A tumor that arises in the lymph nodes or in other lymphoid tissue.
  • Myelodysplasia – A group of disorders where bone marrow does not produce enough normal blood cells and does not function properly.
  • Myelofibrosis – Also known as agnogenic myeloid metaplasia. Myelofibrosis is a chronic disease that occurs in patients with fibrous material in their bone marrow, anemia and an enlarged spleen.
  • Myeloma – A cancer that forms in a type of white blood cells called plasma cells.

Platelet Disorders

Platelets help wounds heal and prevent bleeding by forming blood clots. Platelet disorders are related to platelet function or number—having too few, too many, or abnormal platelets. Platelet disorders may include:

  • Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) – Occurs where a decreased number of platelets causes bleeding and easy bruising.
  • Essential thrombocytosis – A disorder in which platelets are overproduced, which can lead to both blood clotting and bleeding.

Clotting Disorders

Also known as coagulation disorders. Occurs when there’s a problem affecting clotting factors, which can lead to excessive bleeding or excessive clotting.

  • Hemophilia – A rare bleeding disorder in which blood doesn't clot properly.
  • Von Willebrand disease – A hereditary disease where there is a deficiency of the von Willebrand factor, which is a factor that affects platelet function. This often leads to excessive bleeding.
  • Hypercoagulable states – Inherited abnormalities that increase a person’s risk of developing a blood clot.

Hemochromatosis

A disorder where extra excess iron is absorbed and can build up in organs such as the heart, liver, and pancreas. Untreated, it can result in diabetes, heart disease and liver failure.

The Cancer Care Team at Mission Health

Our hematologists are a part of Mission Cancer, a comprehensive team of subspecialists and clinic support team members who provide multidisciplinary, diagnosis, treatment, supportive care, and survivorship to patients throughout western North Carolina. The Cancer Care team includes subspecialists from multiple affiliates of Mission Health. Learn more.