Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month

Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month

Leukemia and lymphoma are cancers that affect the blood or bone marrow. 

Leukemia starts in the tissue that forms blood. Most blood cells develop from cells in the bone marrow called stem cells. In a person with leukemia, the bone marrow makes abnormal white blood cells (leukemia cells). Unlike normal blood cells, leukemia cells don’t die when they should. They may crowd out normal white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This makes it hard for normal blood cells to do their work. 

Adult leukemias are expected to account for 3.4 percent of all new cancer cases in 2020, 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 begin in cells of the lymph system, which is a part of the immune system. Lymph tissue is found throughout the body, therefore, lymphoma can begin almost anywhere. There are two basic categories of lymphomas: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).  

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. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma represents 4.2 percent of all new cancer cases in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas can occur in children and adults.

September is Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month. 

What is the AACR Doing in This Area?

Blood Cancer Discovery

In 2020, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) began publication of its newest journal, Blood Cancer Discovery. The journal is the ninth in the AACR’s prestigious portfolio of scientific publications,.

Hematologic malignancies account for about 10 percent of cancer cases and 9 percent of cancer deaths in the United States each year, Blood Cancer Discovery, enhances the AACR’s efforts to support the exchange of information in the exciting field of hematologic malignancies research. 

Lymphoma-Focused Conferences

In August 2020, the AACR Virtual Meeting Advances in Malignant Lymphoma: Maximizing the Basic-Translational Interface for Clinical Application was held in cooperation with the International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma (ICML).

This virtual meeting covered a diverse range of topics, from immunotherapeutic strategies to advances in single-cell analyses to health disparities in lymphoma. Learn more on the AACR’s Cancer Research Catalyst blog here.