Haematology is the branch of medicine which studies the blood, and diseases of the blood (along with the organs associated with the production of blood) in order to diagnose, prevent, treat and manage these conditions.
What does a haematologist treat?
Haematologists treat diseases associated with the blood, white blood cells and red blood cells, blood proteins, blood vessels, bone marrow, haemoglobin, platelets, the lymphatic system, and the spleen, among other components which affect the blood and its production. Haematologists also see patients with genetic disorders (such as thalassaemia and sickle cell disease). Some diseases which may indicate referral to a haematologist include:
Blood cancers such as leukaemia & lymphoma (including Hodgkin's disease and myelodysplastic syndrome)
Haematology is a broad specialty which includes sub-specialties such as haemato-oncology (cancers of the blood), transfusion medicine, genetic disorders, bone marrow transplantation, coagulation and platelet disorders, bone marrow failure syndroms, obstetric haematology, coagulation and platelet disorders, and red blood cell disorders, to name a few. Some doctors may choose to specialise in paediatric haematology.
When should you see a haematologist?
Your GP may refer you to a haematologist if they diagnose you with or suspect that you have a blood disorder. Not all blood problems or blood-related problems require referral to a haematologist, so it is important to listen to your GP and take note of their referral - for example, if you have an existing blood disorder such as anaemia, and you find blood in your stools, you are more likely to be referred to a gastroenterologist. However, haematologists can treat a wide variety of conditions, including blood cancers, non-cancerous blood disorders, bleeding disorders, and clotting. Your GP will ask you questions and most likely order tests to determine if they need to refer you to a haematologist.