Leukemia and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: Condition Overview

What are leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

Leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow, the substance inside of bones that makes blood cells.

Lymphomas are divided into two broad categories, depending on the appearance of their cancerous (malignant) cells: These are known as Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

Like Hodgkin lymphoma, leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma are cancers of lymphocytes (white blood cells). The white blood cells are an important part of the immune system and help people fight infection.

What causes leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

There are no known causes of leukemia or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but both types of cancer are treatable and curable, usually with chemotherapy alone.

Who gets leukemia?

Leukemia can occur at any age, from infancy through adulthood; however, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is most common among 3- to 5-year-old children.

Children with certain genetic disorders, like Down syndrome, may have a higher risk for developing leukemia.

Who gets non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is more common in older children and young adults.

Helpful resources for blood cancer