September is Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month

join with the aacr to find better ways to prevent and treat leukemia and lymphoma

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. 

An estimated 62,770 new cases of leukemia are expected to be diagnosed in the United States in 2024, according to the National Cancer Institute, with 23,670 deaths. 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. An estimated 80,620 people in the United States will be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2024, according to the National Cancer Institute, and 20,140 will die from the disease..

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

one person’s story

Alexander Gonzalez Franco was diagnosed with a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. After chemotherapy stopped working for him, he found improvement with CAR T-cell therapy. Read his story in the AACR Cancer Progress Report 2022.

What is the AACR Doing in leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood cancer research?

Lymphoma- and Leukemia-Focused Conferences

Supporting Research

The AACR has recently awarded research grants to investigators pursuing promising research related to leukemia and lymphoma.

  • The 2023 AACR-Incyte Immuno-oncology Research Fellowship was awarded to Mingzeng Zhang, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, for “Quantitative Immune Profiling of Follicular Lymphoma for Precision Therapy.” Dr. Zhang says her award will help use immunologic tools to advance precision therapeutic strategies for patients with lymphoma.
  • The 2022 AACR-Genmab Non-Hodgkin B-Cell Lymphoma Research Fellowship was awarded to Charlotte Graham, MBChB, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, for “Mechanisms of Cytopenia Associated with CAR T Cell Therapy.”

Blood Cancer Discovery

In 2020, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) began to publish its 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. 

for more information

There are many different types of leukemia and lymphoma in adults and children. For more information on these different diseases, please see: