Can Leukemia Cause Lymphoma?

Home / blog / Can Leukemia Cause Lymphoma?
Can Leukemia Cause Lymphoma?

Can Leukemia Cause Lymphoma?

What is Leukemia?

LEUKEMIA is the cancer of the blood cells. It begins in the cell in the bone marrow. When the cell changes, it becomes a leukemia cell, and these cells may grow and survive better than normal cells. Most of the people who are affected by it are above 50, but it affects children as well. Leukemia is the most common type of cancer.

What is Lymphoma?

LYMPHOMA is cancer that starts in infection-fighting cells of our system, known as LYMPHOCYTES. These cells are present in the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, bone marrow, and if one has cancer, these lymphocytes change and grow out of control.

What is Connection Between Leukemia and Lymphoma?

Cancer affects any part of the body, including the blood. Both LEUKEMIA and LYMPHOMA are forms of blood cancer. The main difference is while leukemia affects the blood and bone marrow, lymphomas affect the lymph nodes. 

Similarities and Differences:

  1. Both Leukemia and Lymphoma affect white blood cells.
  2. Leukemia occurs when the bone marrow produces many abnormal white blood cells.
  3. When a person has Leukemia the white blood cells multiply quickly and do not allow the red blood cells to carry sufficient oxygen through the body.
  4. Lymphoma begins in the immune system and the lymph nodes, and lymphocytes which are a type of white blood cells are affected.
  5.  Leukemia is of four types:
  1. Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia—mainly occurs in children may affect adults also.
  2. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia—mainly occurs in older people above 55 years of age and never occurs in children.
  3. Acute Myeloid Leukemia—affects both adults and children. In adults, it is mainly because of smoking.
  4. Chronic Myeloid Leukemia—mainly occurs in adults.

       6) Lymphoma is of two main types:

         Hodgkin Lymphoma, it involves abnormal B cell called a Reed-Sterberg cell and is less common.

        a) Non- Hodgkin Lymphoma, it starts in B cells or T cells.

Though there are some similarities and differences between the two types of cancer, their causes, symptoms, treatment, and survival rate are different. For leukemia and lymphoma, no early tests can detect them. The best way to detect them is through symptoms.

Symptoms in Both The Types of Cancer

  1. Fever
  2. Tiredness
  3. Loss of appetite
  4. Weight loss
  5. Sweating at nights
  6. Shortness of breath.

Risk Factors:

Leukemia and Lymphoma have different risk factors.

Risk Factors of Leukemia:

  1. Genetic disorders
  2. Family history
  3. Exposure to certain chemicals
  4. Smoking
  5. Exposure to radiation or chemotherapy

Risk factors of both the types of Lymphoma:

  1. Weakened immune system
  2.  Exposure to chemicals
  3. Family history
  4. HIV infection
  5. Exposure to radiation or chemotherapy


Leukemia and Lymphoma both need different diagnosis pattern, but still, the treating doctor needs to know the medical history and a physical exam has to be done. He can also get a blood test done or prescribe antibiotics to rule out infection or any other cause.

Sometimes a biopsy can be done and also be referred to a Hematologist a specialist in the diseases of the blood like

  • For Leukemia a blood test is required to identify abnormal blood count and a bone marrow biopsy, X-rays and CT scan may also be taken.
  • In case of lymphoma from the affected area a biopsy from the tissue is taken.


Though both Leukemia and Lymphoma may require different treatments, the common ones are planned by the treating doctor, a hematologist and an Oncologist. The treatment includes:

  1. Radiation therapy
  2. Chemotherapy
  3. Targeted therapy drugs
  4. Stem cell transplant.
  5. Surgery

Can Leukemia Spread to Lymph Nodes?

In leukemia the cancer cells are in the bone marrow and blood, while lymphoma is in the lymph nodes and other tissues. Sometimes leukemia which starts in the soft, inner part of the bones (bone marrow) also spreads into the blood. It sometimes spread to the other parts of the body like the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, central nervous system and other organs.

In a similar manner lymphoma cancer that develops in the lymphocytes, circulates in the blood and lymph tissues can enter the bone marrow also or in any place in the body and is treatable. Lymphoma has a higher survival rate than leukemia.

Healthy Diet for Leukemia and Lymphoma Patients:

For any disease, eating a healthy diet keeps the body strong, energy levels are maintained; actual weight is taken care and supports the immune system.

Balanced Diet:

  • Carbohydrates—whole grains like oats and wheat.
  • Lean proteins
  • healthy dairy products
  • plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • healthy fats like nuts, avocado and olive oil.
  • drink plenty of water

Foods to Avoid:

  • Raw meat
  • eggs
  • sprouts
  • Thawed and frozen items
  • Milk, juices and cheese

Awareness of Leukemia and Lymphoma Cancers:

LEUKEMIA and LYMPHOMA are the two dreadful cancers and leading Hematological diseases that obstruct the normal life of the person who is affected by these diseases. Physiotherapy also plays a major role in their lives. Patients are mentally disturbed when affected by this disease. During treatment, patients must be informed about the importance of physiotherapy and physical activity; otherwise, the patients may become immobile.

Patients become emotional because of the symptoms, treatment and its side effects. So the treating doctor plays a major role in motivating the patients as awareness regarding physical activity is low. To maintain the quality of life, the patients need to follow the instructions of the treating doctor.

This awareness regarding Leukemia and Lymphoma is a must as they need to continue to lead a good standard of living, their health and relationship with their relatives and loved ones. Awareness regarding all this is seen in the patients but they were not confident that they would lead a secure, normal life in future. Hence knowledge and awareness of the disease, regular follow-ups and a heart to heart with the treating doctor is a must. The doctor main aim apart from treating the disease and making the patient comfortable and clearing his doubts and satisfying during and after treatment has become the responsibility of the doctor.