September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month – a focused time for advocates and supporters of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) to raise awareness both locally and nationally about our efforts to fight blood cancers including leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and Hodgkin’s disease.
Most blood cancers, also called hematologic cancers, start in the bone marrow, which is where blood is produced. Blood cancers occur when abnormal blood cells start growing out of control, interrupting the function of normal blood cells, which fight off infection and produce new blood cells.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a blood cancer that develops in the lymphatic system from cells called lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight infections.
Hodgkin lymphoma is a blood cancer that develops in the lymphatic system from cells called lymphocytes. Hodgkin lymphoma is characterized by the presence of an abnormal lymphocyte called the Reed-Sternberg cell.
Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs): These rare blood cancers occur when the body overproduces white blood cells, red blood cells or platelets. The three main subcategories are essential thrombocythemia (ET), myelofibrosis (MF) and polycythemia vera (PV).
Amyloidosis: This rare disorder, characterized by the buildup of an abnormal protein called amyloid, is not a form of cancer. But it is closely associated with multiple myeloma.