Blood cancers such as leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, myeloma and myelodysplastic syndromes are cancers that originate in the bone marrow or lymphatic tissues. They are considered to be related cancers because they involve the uncontrolled growth of cells with similar functions and origins. The diseases result from an acquired genetic injury to the DNA of a single cell, which becomes abnormal (malignant) and multiplies continuously. The accumulation of malignant cells interferes with the body’s production of healthy blood cells.

Every 4 minutes one person is diagnosed with a blood cancer.

An estimated 139,860 people in the United States will be diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma in 2009. New cases of leukemia, Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma account for 9.5 percent of the 1,479,350 new cancer cases diagnosed in the United States this year*.

Overall incidence rates per 100,000 population for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma are almost identical for data reported in 2008 and 2009 [(leukemia 12.2, 2009 vs.12.3, 2008); (NHL, 19.5, each year); (Hodgkin lymphoma, 2.8, each year); (myeloma, 5.6, each year)].

Leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma will cause the deaths of an estimated 53,240 people in the United States this year. These blood cancers will account for nearly 9.5 percent of the deaths from cancer in 2009 based on the 562,340 total cancer-related deaths.

Every ten minutes, someone dies from a blood cancer. This statistic represents nearly 146 people each day, or more than six people every hour. Leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer among children and young adults under the age of 20. In general, the likelihood of dying from most types of leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma decreased from 1996 to 2005 (the most recent data available).

*Facts and statistics from Leukemia, Lymphoma, Myeloma Facts 2009-2010, June 2009.

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