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About Leukemia

Leukemia refers to the cancer in the blood cells. There are primarily two types of blood cells – Red blood cells and white blood cells. Leukemia is known to affect while blood cells.

While blood cells play a pivotal role in safeguarding our body from various diseases. These cells protect the body from various bacteria, viruses and several other foreign objects and other harmful elements. When leukemia affects these cells, they don’t perform in their usual way. For example, they get divided quickly and finally overcome normal cells.

WBCsare mainly generated the bone marrow, however specific types of WBCs are also produced in the lymph nodes, spleen, and thymus gland. Once created, WBCs mix throughout the body in the blood and lymph (fluid that circulates through the lymphatic system), focusing in the lymph nodes and spleen.

There are different types of leukemia, including

  • Acute myelogenous – The most commonly found leukemia type.
  • Acute lymphocytic – It occurs primarily in children.
  • Chronic myelogenous – It affects mostly adults.
  • Chronic myeloid – It is.

Leukemia is known to spread very quickly or slowly. It is found that chronic leukemia grows quickly. In acute leukemia, the cells get highly abnormal and their number upsurges rapidly. Adults can get either type; children with it most often get an acute type. Some leukemias can every so often be treated. Other types are difficult to cure, but it is possible to control them. Treatments may include chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell transplantation. Even if symptoms wade off, one might need therapy to avert a recurrence.

It stages differ on the basis of the type of the disease. And, some of the leukemias may be scattered out into subtypes during the staging process.

The severe types of disease (AML and ALL), are often staged based on the type of cell involved and how the cells appear under a microscope. This is known as the French-American-British (FAB) classification system.

Lymphocytic leukemias (CLL and ALL) happen in a kind of white blood cell known as lymphocytes. The white blood cell count during the diagnosis may be used to help determine the stage
ofthe leukemia. Similarly, staging for myeloid disease (CML and AML) depends on the number of myeloblasts (immature white blood cells) found in the blood or bone marrow.

Signs and symptoms of Leukemia

The most generally emerging signs of leukemia include:

  • Heavy sweating, particularly at night (called “night sweats”)
  • Fatigue and weaknessthatdon’t decrease with rest
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Bone pain and tenderness
  • Painless, swollen lymph nodes (especially in the neck and armpits)
  • Enlargement of the liver or spleen
  • Red spots on the skin, known as petechiae
  • Bleeding and bruising
  • Fever or chills
  • Recurrent infections

The disease is known to cause symptoms in body parts that have been affected by the cancer cells. For example, it cancer has spread to the nervous system; the patient may face nausea, headaches, confusion, reduced muscle control and seizures.

It can also extend to other parts of your body, including:

  • The lungs
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Heart
  • Kidneys
  • Testes

Risk factors for leukemia

The exact causes of leukemia aren’t found yet. However, a number of factors have been recognized that may increase your risk. These include:

  • A family record of leukemia
  • Smoking, which upsurges the risk of developing the acute myeloid disease (AML).
  • Genetic problems such as Down syndrome.
  • Blood disorders, such as myelodysplastic syndrome, which is often called “preleukemia”.
  • Previous treatment for cancer with chemotherapy or radiation.
  • Ccontactto high levels of radiation.
  • Exposure to chemicals such as benzene.

Leukemia Treatment

A hematologist or oncologist is often referred for the treatment of leukemia. These are experts who specialize in treating blood disorders and cancer. The treatment depends on the kind and stageofthe cancer. Some sorts of disease expand slowly and don’t need instant treatment. However, treatment for leukemia generally involves one or more of the following:

  • Chemotherapy employs drugs to combat leukemia cells. Basis the type of leukemia, the patient may take either a single drug or a mix of different drugs.
  • Radiation therapy rests on high-energy radiation to kill it cells and restrict their growth. Radiation can be exposed to a specific area or to the entire body.
  • Stem cell transplantation substitutes diseased bone marrow with healthy bone marrow, either your own (called autologous transplantation) or from a donor (known as autologous transplantation). This procedure is also known as a bone marrow transplant.
  • Biological or immune therapy encompasses treatments that help the immune system find and attack cancer cells.
  • Targeted therapy employs medications that take advantage of susceptibilities in cancer cells. For example, imatinib (Gleevec) is a focused drug that’s generally used against CML.

Prevention of Leukemia

It is almost impossible to develop complete resistance to leukemia. However, it is necessary to understand the point that certain elements in the environment could aggravate the conditions. For example, if you are a tobacco smoker, you could be more susceptible to some kinds of disease as compared to a nonsmoker. It’s also linked with a high amount of radiation contact and various chemicals.

Some kinds of chemotherapy and radiation therapy employed to treat other cancers can really cause leukemia. The probability that you’ll develop leukemia rests on the types of chemotherapy drugs used.

Family history is another risk factor for leukemia. For instance, if an identical twin gets a specific type of leukemia, there is a 20% likelihood the other twin will suffer from it within a year.


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