Leukemia and lymphoma are cancers that affect the blood or bone marrow.
Leukemia starts in the tissue that forms blood. Most blood cells develop from cells in the bone marrow called stem cells. In a person with leukemia, the bone marrow makes abnormal white blood cells (leukemia cells). Unlike normal blood cells, leukemia cells don’t die when they should. They may crowd out normal white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This makes it hard for normal blood cells to do their work.
An estimated 60,650 new cases of leukemia are expected to be diagnosed in the United States in 2022, according to federal statistics. Leukemia is the most common cancer in children younger than 15 years.
There are four major types of leukemia: acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which affects myeloid cells and grows quickly; chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), which affects lymphoid cells and grows slowly; acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which affects lymphoid cells and grows quickly; and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), which affects myeloid cells and usually grows slowly at first. AML and CLL are the most common types in adults, and ALL is the most common type in children.
Lymphomas begin in cells of the lymph system, which is a part of the immune system. Lymph tissue is found throughout the body, therefore, lymphoma can begin almost anywhere. There are two basic categories of lymphomas: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
Hodgkin lymphoma is usually marked by the presence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell in the lymph nodes. Hodgkin lymphoma may also occur in patients who have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma includes a large, diverse group of cancers of immune system cells. Scientists typically categorize them as either slow-growing or aggressive. The most common types of NHL in adults are diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma. An estimated 80,470 people in the United States will be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2022, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas can occur in children and adults.
September is Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month.
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