Special Report

The Most Common (and Controversial) Risk Factors for Blood Cancer

People can’t see the different components in the blood that keep the body healthy. But these components — mainly white and red blood cells, plasma, and platelets — can all become malignant for various reasons.

Those susceptible to certain diseases will not necessarily be diagnosed, and some patients develop cancer with no known risk factors. Cancer can develop in people of all ages, but some are more common in younger or older individuals or in those who lead a certain lifestyle. 24/7 Tempo compiled a list of common risk for blood cancers factors using information from sources such as the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cancer, in general, is a health condition in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably, infiltrating and destroying normal body tissue. It is the second leading cause of death in the United States. In 2016 alone, the disease killed nearly 600,000 people, according to the CDC

More than 100 different types of cancer are known to exist. About a dozen of them are blood cancers that affect the production and function of blood cells and bone marrow, and they fall into three main categories: leukemia, lymphoma (non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin), and myeloma. 

A person in the United States is diagnosed with blood cancer every three minutes. An estimated total of more than 1,760,000 new cases are projected to be diagnosed in 2019, or about 10% of all new cancer cases this year, according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Someone in the country dies from a form of blood cancer every nine minutes. An estimated 56,770 people will die from the disease in 2019, accounting for 9.4% of all cancer deaths.

While overall cancer death rates have been declining for years, new diagnoses are expected to continue to rise largely due to the ongoing growth and aging of the U.S. population. And the numbers vary greatly from one region to another, often due to unhealthy lifestyle choices — these are the cancers with the highest and lowest survival rates.

Click here to learn about 21 common and controversial blood cancer risk factors

To compile a list of factors that increase the risk of developing blood cancers, 24/7 Tempo reviewed information on hematologic malignancies from sources such as the American Cancer Society, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, National Cancer Institute, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and other sources.

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