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Types of Lymphoma and Leukemia

Learn about the various types of lymphoma and leukemia, including diagnosis, symptoms, and available treatments.
2023-04-01

Review of Types of Lymphoma and Leukemia

Lymphoma and leukemia are types of cancer that affect the lymphatic system and blood, respectively. Both have many different subtypes based on the cell type they affect, the pattern of spread, and the degree of malignancy. While the treatment of each type varies, they share many common characteristics and treatments. Understanding the differences between lymphoma and leukemia is an important step in helping to diagnose and treat these diseases.

What is Lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the cells of the lymphatic system. This system is part of the immune system and is responsible for transporting lymph fluid throughout the body. Lymphoma can affect either B-cells (B-cell lymphoma) or T-cells (T-cell lymphoma). Depending on the type of lymphoma, it may be either slow-growing (indolent) or fast-growing (aggressive).

The most common type of lymphoma is non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), which accounts for about 90% of lymphomas. NHL is further divided into subtypes, such as diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), follicular lymphoma, and mantle cell lymphoma. Other types of lymphoma include Hodgkin lymphoma, which is a type of cancer that affects a specific type of B-cell called a Reed-Sternberg cell, and T-cell lymphomas, such as peripheral T-cell lymphoma and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

What is Leukemia?

Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the cells of the blood. It is divided into four main types based on the type of cell affected: acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

ALL affects immature white blood cells, called lymphocytes, and is the most common type of leukemia in children. AML affects immature white blood cells, called myeloid cells, and is the most common type of leukemia in adults. CLL affects mature white blood cells, called lymphocytes, and is the most common type of leukemia in adults. CML affects mature white blood cells, called myeloid cells, and is most common in adults over the age of 60.

Diagnosis

When diagnosing lymphoma and leukemia, doctors look at the patient's medical history, physical exam, and laboratory tests. A physical exam may include a complete blood count (CBC) and a review of the patient's lymph nodes. The CBC measures the numbers of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.

In addition, doctors may order imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans, to look for any tumors or enlarged lymph nodes. A biopsy may also be done to confirm the diagnosis. A biopsy involves taking a small sample of tissue from the lymph nodes or bone marrow and examining it under a microscope.

Treatment

The treatment of lymphoma and leukemia depends on the type and stage of the disease. For both diseases, the goal of treatment is to eliminate the cancer cells and prevent them from spreading.

Treatment of lymphoma typically involves chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells, while radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. Other treatments, such as stem cell transplants, may also be used.

Treatment of leukemia typically involves chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of both. Other treatments, such as stem cell transplants, may also be used.

Conclusion

Lymphoma and leukemia are two types of cancer that affect the lymphatic system and blood, respectively. These diseases have many similarities, such as their diagnosis and treatment, but they also have distinct differences. Understanding these differences is important for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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