What is the Difference between Leukemia and Lymphoma?

We are all too familiar with the disease that has taken numerous lives. Many people suffer from various types of cancer. But not all of us are familiar with all of these kinds of cancer. Two types that may confuse a lot of people are leukemia and lymphoma. The two are closely related and are often interchanged by people. There are also some people who don’t even know what lymphoma is and only knows about leukemia.

The two cancers, leukemia and lymphoma, are closely related. Both are hematologic cancers. Hematologic cancers are cancers concerning the blood and the bone marrow. The difference between leukemia and lymphoma lies on where in particular they occur.

Leukemia is widely known as cancer of the blood. It starts in the bone marrow which produces the blood. And since the blood is being spread all throughout your body, it can reach to the other parts of your body like the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, and the central nervous system. In leukemia, there is an abnormal production of white blood cells, or leukocytes. These abnormal leukocytes crowd up the system and overpower the normal ones. This inhibits the normal functioning of the system.

Lymphoma, on the other hand, is a cancer of the lymph tissues. It is a tumor in the lymph nodes, which causes the lymph nodes to swell. And similar to leukemia, lymphoma can invade other organs as well, when the lymphoid tissues appear on areas they should not. The unnecessary growth of the lymph tissues cause the lymphatic system to function poorly.

Leukocytes and lymph tissues are essential in providing immunity to our body. If they become abnormal, they may either function poorly and not able to defend the body from infections or provide too much defense that ends up inhibiting the function of other organs and other cells. Leukemia and lymphoma are very much similar in this case.

The symptoms of leukemia and lymphoma are quite similar too. Because of their excessive production and abnormality in function, blood platelets are lessened. This results to bruising and excessive bleeding. Paleness, fatigue, and weakness are also some common symptoms of leukemia and lymphoma. However, in lymphoma, there is a distinct painful swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, and groin. Sometimes, these are the only symptoms of lymphoma and they start early. There are also some cases of leukemia, like chronic leukemia, wherein there are no early signs of the disease.

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