A diagnosis of hematopoietic malignancy, or blood cancer, can be quite devastating. Most blood cancers originate in the body's bone marrow, the soft and spongy tissue inside the bones.
Hematopoietic stem cells reside in the bone marrow and produce all the circulating blood cells: red and white blood cells, as well as platelets. Blood cancer develops when one of these stem cells transforms into a cancer stem cell through a series of DNA mutations. Cancer cells then begin to accumulate in the bone marrow and eventually in the blood, severely decreasing the production of normal blood cells. As a result, patients experience severe fatigue due to low red blood cells (anemia), bleeding due to low platelets and severe infections due to low white blood cells. Without treatment, these conditions are almost invariably fatal – within days to weeks for acute leukemia and months to years for more chronic forms of leukemia.
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