What is a haematologist?

A haematologist is a specialist in the science or study of blood, blood-forming organs and blood diseases, which is known as haematology. Haematologists study, diagnose, treat and prevent diseases related to blood. The medical aspect of haematology is concerned with the treatment of blood disorders and malignancies, including types of haemophilia, leukaemia, lymphoma and sickle-cell anaemia. It also includes the study of etiology, and involves treating diseases that affect the production of blood and its components, such as blood cells, haemoglobin, blood proteins, bone marrow, platelets, blood vessels, spleen, and the mechanism of coagulation.

When would I need a haematologist?

If you are affected by a blood condition, disorder, or cancer, you will need to see a haematologist. Such conditions of the blood can include, but are not limited to, anaemia, bleeding disorders such as haemophilia, blood clots, and blood cancers like leukaemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. Indeed, if you are diagnosed with a blood disorder your doctor is likely to refer you to a haematologist.

How can a haematologist help me?

A haematologist can help you in multiple ways in the process of diagnosing and treating the blood condition, disease or disorder you may be suffering from. The tests that a haematologist may perform on you, such as a blood or urine test, will allow a haematologist to discern the illness you are suffering from and what is causing it, before developing an individual treatment plan to combat your condition. Once a course of treatment has been decided you may be referred to a specialist in another area of medicine such as an oncologist, who specialises in the treatment of cancer.

What should I expect when I see a haematologist?

First and foremost, you can expect to be offered an appointment with a haematologist within six weeks of being referred. It is likely that he or she will review your past medical history. When you visit a haematologist you can expect that a range of investigations and tests will be carried out. These could include urine tests, blood test, and X-rays. You may also need a bone marrow biopsy, a CT or MRI scan, or a venesection, a procedure in which your haematologist will take a pint of blood from you. After such tests have been carried out you can expect to receive a diagnosis from your haematologist, and discuss with he or she some treatment options.

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