What you need to know

It is recommended that you:

  • See a haematologist who is a member of a multidisciplinary team. You can ask your GP to refer you.
  • All specialists listed on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.

What is blood cancer?

A blood or haematological cancer is cancer that occurs in the blood or bone marrow. A blood cancer starts when cells in the blood or bone marrow become abnormal. These cells divide and grow in an uncontrolled way. There are different types of blood cancers including leukaemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and myelodysplastic syndrome. 

Graphic of human body highlighting the blood system

Who do I see for diagnosis and treatment of my blood cancer?

If your GP suspects you have a blood cancer, they will refer you to a haematologist.

The haematologist should:

  • Have experience treating haematological cancer
  • Be an active member of a multidisciplinary team

All the specialists listed on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.

Why are multidisciplinary teams important?

A multidisciplinary team is a team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals. Team members meet regularly to discuss their patients. They plan treatment for new cancer patients and review treatment for existing patients.

Multidisciplinary teams are important. Team members work together to decide the best treatments for patients.

You can ask your GP to refer you to a specialist who is part of a multidisciplinary team. Talk to your GP about this.

All specialists on Canrefer are members of a multidisciplinary team.

What tests do I need?

You may have some of the tests listed below to diagnose a blood cancer. The most common tests are:

  • Physical examination
  • Blood tests
  • Imaging - ultrasound, X-ray, CT scan and/or PET scan
  • Bone marrow aspiration and/or biopsy
  • Biopsy
  • Lumbar puncture

What treatment will I have?

Treatment for blood cancer may include one or all types of these cancer treatments:

  • surgery
  • chemotherapy
  • targeted therapy
  • radiotherapy

Where do I receive treatment?

If treatment for your blood cancer is specialised and complex, you may need to travel to have part of your treatment. Your Local Health District will have an arrangement in place for this.

You may be able to have parts of your treatment closer to home. Please discuss this with your treating haematologist.

Travel assistance for rural patients

If you live in a rural area and need help to travel for your treatment visit NSW Government IPTAAS for more information.

How common is blood cancer in NSW?

Blood or haematological cancer was diagnosed in:

  • 4440
    People in NSW in 2012
  • 4244
    People in NSW in 2011
  • 3905
    People in NSW in 2010

Data source: Annual NSW cancer incidence and mortality dataset, 2012 (sourced from the NSW Cancer Registry)

Cancer information and support

Speak to a specialist health professional about anything to do with cancer.

Phone 13 11 20.

Cancer Council NSW
Questions for your specialist

Find out some key questions to ask your specialist at your first appointment.

Questions you can ask
Booklet about acute leukaemia

Understanding Acute Leukaemia is a booklet for people with cancer, their families and friends. 

Cancer Council NSW
Booklet about chronic leukaemia

Understanding Chronic Leukaemia is a booklet for people with cancer, their families and friends. 

Cancer Council NSW
Booklet about myeloma

Understanding Myeloma is a booklet for people with cancer, their families and friends. 

Cancer Council NSW