Summary: Leukemia and lymphoma are cancers that affects the blood and bone marrow in the body. Adults and children alike can get this type of cancer, although these groups experience different kinds of cancer than the other. While this is one of the most curable forms of cancer, it is also statistically more likely to get than other cancers. Here you can learn about the different types of leukemia and lymphoma, facts and statistics about these cancers, as well as a multitude of ways that you can help raise awareness this September for leukemia and lymphoma!
Leukemia and Lymphoma are cancers that affects the blood or bone marrow in the body. This type of cancer most often starts in the tissue that forms the blood. Along with leukemia and lymphoma, there are also similar conditions that the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has been funding for research since 1949. Myeloma, Myelodysplastic syndromes are also types of cancer that affects the blood, bone marrow, and other parts of the lymphatic system. Every September, The LLS (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) begins another fundraising effort and educational drive to ensure that awareness is being spread and shared about these types of cancer.
There are two major types of leukemia: acute and chronic. Acute leukemia develops in immature cells, called blasts, and it grows rapidly, requiring immediate treatment. Chronic leukemia develops slowly in more mature cells that can behave normally for long periods of time and then enter a phase where they grow more quickly. Chronic leukemia can go unnoticed for years before it is diagnosed. People who are diagnosed with a chronic form of leukemia and are not yet showing symptoms may not need immediate treatment. Using an approach called “watchful waiting,” doctors monitor the leukemia and, if it becomes more active, will start therapy. People who take this approach can change their mind at any time and request treatment if they become concerned. Children and adults get different kinds of leukemia.
Leukemia, which is a cancer in the bone marrow, causes a leukemic change within the cells, allowing the growth and spreading of the damaged cancer cells. Over time, leukemia cells become compacted, and begin to suppress the growth and development of any normal cells. The speed or rate that leukemia progresses depends on the type of leukemia the patient has. After diagnosis and treatment, most patients can continue to live their lives for years to come.
Lymphoma, which can also be referred to as Hodgkin lymphoma, due to the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells. These are the large, cancerous cells that help to identify this type of lymphoma, aptly named for the scientist who first found them. Hodgkin lymphoma is one of the most curable types of cancer. There are a variety of types of lymphoma. The type of lymphoma will determine which treatments are needed, if the disease can be cured or if long-term, low-dose treatment may be better to help with the quality of life.
The Philadelphia chromosome, named for the city in which it was discovered in 1960, is a marker in almost all cases of CML and some cases of ALL. Identifying it led to breakthroughs in cancer treatment, allowing researchers to develop genetically targeted treatments for people with these types of leukemia. The treatments kill unhealthy cells more precisely and leave healthy cells undamaged, unlike earlier chemotherapies. Some of the side effects of targeted drugs, such as high blood pressure and a kind of skin rash that looks like acne, can actually indicate a good response to the medications.
Facts about Leukemia & Lymphoma
- In 2019, over sixty-thousand people are expected to be diagnosed with leukemia.
- At this moment, there are almost found-hundred-thousand patients living with, or in remission from, leukemia in the United States.
- The five-year relative survival rate for leukemia has more than quadrupled, from fourteen percent in Caucasians from 1960 to 1963 (which is the only data available) to sixty-four and a half percent for all races from 2008 to 2014.
- In 2019, nearly twenty-three thousand people are expected to die from leukemia.
- From 2011 to 2015, leukemia was the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the US.
- In 2019, there are expected to be over eighty-thousand new cases of lymphoma diagnosed in the United States alone.
- There is almost nine-hundred thousand people living with, or in remission from, lymphoma in the United States.
- There are almost two-hundred thousand people living with or in remission from Hodgkin lymphoma
- There are nearly seven-hundred thousand people living with or in remission from non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- The five-year survival rate for patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma have more than doubled from the 1960s when only forty percent of Caucasians survived, to between the years of 2008 and 2014, where nearly eighty-nine percent of patients now survive. If the patient is younger than forty-five years old at the time of diagnosis, their survival rate grows to ninety-four percent.
- HL is now considered to be one of the most curable forms of cancer.
- While the exact cause of lymphoma remains unknown, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma occurs much more frequently in HIV-infected people than in the general population.
- There are some indications that certain chemicals, such as insecticides and wood-preserving materials, are linked to certain forms of lymphoma.
- Lymphoma often causes fever and night sweats. Further lymphoma symptoms depend on which areas of the body are affected, for example the neck, groin or underarm area.
- Early diagnosis and treatment greatly improve the outcome of the disease, and many other types of cancer.
How You Can Help!
It’s so easy to help with organizations like the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society spread awareness! There are multiple ways you can help, even if you are unable to physically or monetarily donate. Here are some ideas!
- Become an advocate for leukemia and lymphoma patients in your area. This could mean different things, depending on your ability levels. You might provide transportation for patients who do not have a vehicle to get to their appointments. Or, you may choose to take classes and become an official advocate to better help patients.
- Join a local or national Light the Night walk, which raises awareness and funds for better testing and more defined medications used to help fight leukemia and lymphoma. If there is not a Light the Night walk scheduled in your area, consider joining some friends or colleagues together and make it happen! In Indiana, these dates occur most often in October.
- Hold a bake sale, community garage sale, or other form of basic fundraising and donate the proceeds to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The LLS can help guide the process for you and assist if you should need it.
- On your social media platforms, share and post factual, relevant information about leukemia and lymphoma. When you do, make sure to use the hashtag #LightTheNight or #LeukemiaLymphomaSoceity. This helps to connect all of the posts made worldwide together, so that with one simple click, all of the information appears to those who click the hashtag.
If you know someone who is suffering from or living with leukemia or lymphoma, support them the best way that you can, and let them know that they are not alone! Take an active role in the funding and fight against this type of cancer!
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society