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Facts about Leukemia and Lymphoma

During the month of September, the American Cancer Society takes the time to help increase the public understanding of leukemia and lymphoma, including their prevalence, approaches to screening and prevention, treatment options, and resources that offer updated leukemia and lymphoma information throughout the year.

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Blood cancer is a disease that affects thousands of families every year.  The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimated there were 44,790 new cases of leukemia and 21,870 deaths in 2009. For lymphoma, the ACS estimated that 74,490 new cases and 20,790 deaths would occur in the United States in 2009.

September is also the month to commemorate the estimated 670,000 patients in the U.S. who are currently battling blood cancers. There is a continual, critical need for awareness and continued research as more than 300 people a day are diagnosed with blood cancer.  It is estimated that every nine minutes someone dies from either leukemia or lymphoma.

Getting regular health care from a physician and staying informed with the latest news on prevention, screening, and treatment are important steps in reducing your risk of developing leukemia or lymphoma or achieving the best possible outcome from treatment.

Lymphoma is a cancer that results in tumors arising in lymph nodes or other lymphoid tissue. There are two main types of lymphoma: Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Both produce similar symptoms and the type of lymphoma is determined by the microscopic evaluation of the cells containing the cancer. Treatment is given based on the grade and stage of the disease and the regions of the affected lymph nodes. There are several treatments used in curing lymphoma such as chemotherapy, radiation and herbal remedies.

Leukemia is a malignant disease (cancer) of the bone marrow and blood. It is characterized by the uncontrolled accumulation of blood cells. Leukemia is divided into four categories, each of which can be acute or chronic.  The ways in which patients are affected and how patients are treated are different for each type of leukemia. Each main type of leukemia has different subtypes. A patient’s age, general health and subtype may play a role in determining the best treatment plan.

Signs and symptoms of leukemia include:

  • Weakness or tiredness
  • Headache
  • Abdominal or lymph node swelling
  • Pain in joints
  • Infections
  • Abnormal bruising or bleeding
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Abnormal blood test results

Signs and symptoms of lymphoma are:

  • Chest pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Recurring fevers
  • Night sweats
  • Rashes
  • Lower back pains
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Sore lymph nodes after drinking alcohol

Don’t assume that if you experiencing symptoms like these that you have cancer.  However, don’t do nothing either.  Whenever you feel symptoms like the above it’s best to contact your doctor as soon as possible.

If you or a family member are affected by cancer there are many resources for help.  For more information go to the American Cancer Society Website.

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