September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month
September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month. Blood cancers include leukemias, lymphomas and multiple myeloma. Together these account for approximately 180,000 new cancers each year in the United States and 1.24 million worldwide. There has been dramatic improvement in the treatment and outcomes for most blood cancers in the past two decades. Many of these cancers are more common as someone ages, but some leukemias and lymphomas are fairly common in children.
Leukemias are cancers of the white blood cells made in the bone marrow. They often present with symptoms related to suppression of normal blood production, such as fatigue from too few red blood cells or unexplained bleeding or bruising from decreased platelet production.
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 are divided into Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas. These are cancers of lymph tissue and often present with persistent enlarged lymph nodes. Lymphomas are among some of the most treatable cancers and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in particular is considered one of the most curable of all cancers.
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.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow that are responsible for making antibodies that help fight infections. It can cause bone lesions and fractures, anemia, high calcium levels and kidney failure. Also, it is much more treatable than it was in the past.
Symptoms may not be present or may be non-specific, such as loss of appetite, bone pain, and fever People may experience: Pain in the back or bones, anemia, fatigue, or loss of appetite. Also common: constipation, hypercalcemia, kidney damage, or weight loss.