September is Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month, which makes this a good time to learn about some of the most common types of these two diseases.
Leukemia is cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues, including bone marrow and the lymphatic system. Leukemia usually involves the white blood cells, which are potent infection fighters. They normally grow and divide in an orderly way as your body needs them. But in people with leukemia, the bone marrow produces an excessive amount of abnormal white blood cells that don’t function properly.
If you’ve been diagnosed with leukemia, your treatment will be based on the type of leukemia you have; whether it has spread to other parts of your body, including the central nervous system; and your age and overall health.
The major types of leukemia are:
• Acute lymphocytic leukemia: Acute lymphocytic leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children, and treatments result in a good chance for a cure. Acute lymphocytic leukemia also can occur in adults, though the chance of a cure is greatly reduced.
• Acute myelogenous leukemia: Acute myelogenous leukemia occurs in children and adults, and it’s the most common type of acute leukemia in adults.
• Chronic lymphocytic leukemia: With chronic lymphocytic leukemia — the most common chronic adult leukemia — you may feel well for years without needing treatment.
• Chronic myelogenous leukemia: Chronic myelogenous leukemia typically affects older adults and rarely occurs in children, though it can occur at any age. There may be few or no symptoms for months or years before entering a phase where the leukemia cells grow more quickly.
• Other types: Other rarer types of leukemia include hairy cell leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes and myeloproliferative disorders.
Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s germ-fighting network. The lymphatic system includes the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland and bone marrow. Lymphoma can affect all those areas and other organs throughout the body.
If you’ve been diagnosed with lymphoma, your treatment will be based on the type, stage and severity of your disease, as well as your overall health and preferences.
Of the many types of lymphoma, the main categories are:
• Hodgkin lymphoma, or Hodgkin disease: Hodgkin lymphoma, or Hodgkin disease can affect people of any age, but it’s most common in people aged 20-40, and those older than 55.
• Non-Hodgkin lymphoma: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma can occur at any age, but the risk increases with age. It’s most common in people 60 and over. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is more common that Hodgkin lymphoma.