Certain Types of Blood Cancers Have Been Linked to Agent Orange
The U.S. government recognizes a link between Agent Orange exposure and at least four distinct blood cancers, including some leukemia, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodkin’s lymphoma. Chronic B-cell leukemia is a type of cancer that affects B cells, immune cells that produce antibodies to fight off infections. This cancer weakens the immune system and increases susceptibility to infections and other illnesses. Multiple myeloma affects the plasma, which is the liquid part of the blood. Plasma cells are produced in the bone marrow. In people with multiple myeloma, affected plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow, pushing out healthy immune blood cells and forming multiple tumors in the bones. Like Hodkin’s disease, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer that affects the lymphatic system. But the disease affects different types of white blood cells, and Non-Hodkin’s is typically more difficult to treat.