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September is Leukemia & Lymphoma Awareness Month

Leukemia & Lymphoma

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Leukemia and Lymphoma are both cancers that are not associated with a tumor. Lymphomas are cancers that affect the lymph system and start in cells called lymphocytes. Leukemia is a cancer of the early blood-forming tissues, including your bone marrow and lymph system.

There are many types of lymphoma. Some grow and spread slowly and some are more aggressive. There are two main types of Lymphoma:

1.      Hodgkin Lymphoma is cancer that starts in the B lymphocytes (B cells) of the lymph system. Your lymph system helps you fight infection and control the fluids in your body.

2.      Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) is cancer that starts in the lymphocytes anywhere lymph tissue is found:

  • Lymph nodes;
  • Spleen;
  • Bone marrow;
  • Thymus;
  • Adenoids and tonsils; or
  • The digestive track.

Leukemia typically involves white blood cells, the cells that are your infection fighters. Leukemia can be divided into categories: fast growing (acute) and slow growing (chronic); and by which white blood cells are affected:

  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
  • Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) 
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) 

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A screening test is used to detect cancers in people who may be at higher risk for developing the disease. With leukemia and lymphoma, there are no early detection tests. The best way to find them is to be aware of the symptoms:

  • Swollen lymph nodes which can appear as a lump in the neck, armpit or groin;
  • Fever;
  • Night sweats;
  • Weight loss without trying; and
  • Fatigue.

Leukemia can have similar symptoms but also can include:

  • Easy bleeding or bruising;
  • Recurring nosebleeds; and
  • Bone pain or tenderness

Treatment of Lymphoma and Leukemia is complex. For more information Leukemia & Lymphoma, read here.

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