By Stephanie Hinton, CPM, MHS, MA – DHEC Cancer Prevention and Control Division Director
Every 3 minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer. In South Carolina alone, more than 700 people were diagnosed with some form of leukemia and nearly 1,000 were diagnosed with lymphoma in 2012 according to the SC Central Cancer Registry.
September is leukemia and lymphoma awareness month – get to know these cancers and how you can join the fight against them.
Who gets it?
Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer, but both blood cancers occur most often in older adults between the ages of 75-84. Leukemia and lymphoma are slightly more common in men.
What are the symptoms and risk factors?
Common symptoms of leukemia and lymphoma include: fever and chills, persistent fatigue, weight loss without trying, swollen lymph nodes, easy bruising or bleeding, frequent nosebleeds, and bone pain or tenderness.
Risk factors include age, previous cancer treatment, genetic disorders, exposure to certain chemicals, smoking, and family history of the cancer. These symptoms and risk factors do not always equate to cancer but should be discussed with your physician if you have concerns. Find more symptoms and risk factors for leukemia here and lymphoma here.
Can I prevent it?
Although there is no definitive way to prevent leukemia or lymphoma, you can certainly lower your risk. Healthy decisions like maintaining a healthy weight, eating right, not smoking, and exercising routinely will lower your risk of these blood cancers. Visit the American Cancer Society’s Stay Healthy website for more tips and resources on staying healthy.
How can I help?
Join and support Be The Match Registry! Be The Match is a global leader in bone marrow transplantation that helps patients find their life-saving marrow donors and provides support throughout the transplant process. Learn more and join Be The Match here.