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The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Celebrates September as Blood Cancer Awareness Month

Posted on: September 27th, 2012 by Knueppel HealthCare Services No Comments

Each September The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) observes Blood Cancer Awareness Month to shed light on these diseases and let the public know about all the resources available for blood cancer patients and their families.  Remarkable progress has been made in treating patients with blood cancers, yet, more than 1 million North Americans are fighting blood cancers, the third leading cause of cancer death.

 

“Awareness Month is an opportunity to increase the public’s understanding of blood cancers and encourage people to support the funding of research to find cures and education programs to help patients have the best possible outcomes throughout their cancer experience,” said LLS President and CEO John Walter.

 

The Basic Information

One person in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer — such as leukemia or lymphoma — approximately every four minutes. “Lymphoma” is a general term for many blood cancers that originate in the lymphatic system. Lymphoma results when a lymphocyte (a type of white cell) undergoes a malignant change and multiplies out of control. Eventually, healthy cells are crowded out and malignant lymphocytes cause a mass in the lymph nodes, liver, spleen and/or other sites in the body.

 

There are two main types of lymphomas:

  • Hodgkin lymphoma is named after Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, who first described it.
  • All other types of lymphoma are called non-Hodgkin lymphomas.

 

Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow, the spongy center of bones where our blood cells are formed. The disease develops when blood cells produced in the bone marrow grow out of control. The most common blood cancer, Leukemia includes several diseases.

 

Support of Friends is So Important

Risk Factors

Unfortunately, most cases of leukemia and lymphoma cannot be prevented. Real, known causes of leukemia and lymphoma have not been identified. There are possible risk factors, however, for leukemia and lymphoma:

  • Age
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Body weight and diet
  • Certain blood problems
  • Congenital syndromes
  • Epstein-Barr virus infection/mononucleosis
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Exposure to Radiation
  • Family history
  • Gender
  • HIV infection
  • Immune system deficiency
  • Infections
  • Race, ethnicity, and geography
  • Smoking

 

Symptoms

Although by no means exhaustive, here is a partial list of some of the symptoms associated with the different types of leukemia and lymphoma:

  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Fever and infection
  • Headache, trouble thinking
  • Heavy night sweating (enough to soak clothes and sheets)
  • Pain in the bones or stomach
  • Pain or feeling of fullness below the ribs
  • Painless enlargement of one or more lymph nodes, on the side of the neck, in the arm pit, or in the groin
  • Painless lumps in the neck, underarm, stomach, or groin
  • Personality changes
  • Petechiae (flat, pinpoint spots under the skin caused by bleeding)
  • Pressure on the windpipe (trachea) that can cause coughing, shortness of breath, or pain
  • Seizures
  • Shortness of breath
  • Very itchy, red to purple lumps under the skin
  • Weakness or feeling tired
  • Weight loss for no known reason or loss of appetite

 

For more than 60 years, LLS has been a beacon of help and guidance to those touched by blood cancer.  Since its inception LLS has invested more than $875 million in research to find cures and better therapies. Through its patient services programs, LLS offers a comprehensive array of education and support services to blood cancer patients and their families: family support groups, free patient education workshops featuring health experts, and a peer-to-peer support program that matches newly diagnosed patients with trained volunteer survivors. A back to school program helps children treated for cancer transition back to school. LLS also provides financial assistance to patients with significant financial need and an insurance co-pay assistance program.

 

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (800) 955-4572 www.lls.org/aboutlls

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