Leukemia overview

Leukemia is one type of blood cells cancer. It starts in the bone marrow where white blood, red blood cells and platelets are made. When a person suffers from leukemia, white blood cells are born more than normal, they are called leukemia cells and becomes growing faster than other cells.

Consequently, your body may have some serious problems such as anemia, bleeding, and infections. Leukemia cells can also spread to the lymph nodes or other organs and cause swelling or pain.

Types of leukemia

There are typical types of leukemia, namely:

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, Chronic myelogenous leukemia, or CML. ( most common in children)
  • Acute myelogenous leukemia, or AML, Chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL (most common in adults)

Causes

The exact causes of leukemia are still unknown. But the study showed that, if you:

  • Were exposed to large amounts of radiation.
  • Were exposed to certain chemicals at work, such as benzene.
  • Had some types of chemotherapy to treat another cancer.
  • Have Down syndrome or some other genetic problems.
  • Smoke.

you would be at high risk to get leukemia.

Symptoms

You should know about the basic symptoms of leukemia:

  • Fever and night sweats.
  • Headaches.
  • Bruising or bleeding easily.
  • Bone or joint pain.
  • A swollen or painful belly from an enlarged spleen.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit, neck, or groin.
  • Getting a lot of infections.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Losing weight and not feeling hungry.

How can leukemia diagnosis?

– By physical examination: often checking for swollen lymph nodes, splees, or liver

– By blood tests: checking the number of blood cells including white, red and platelets. If you have leukemia, white bloods cell would be very high number.

– By biopsy: this is the quite exact method to diagnose whether your bone marrow make too much leukemia cells or not. The doctor will remove tissue to look for cancer cells.

Leukemia treatments overview

Some treatment includes:

– surgery

– chemotherapy: aim to destroy leukemia cells by using single, or combination of two or more drugs.

– radiation therapy: uses high doses of radiation, such as X-rays, to destroy cancer cells

– immune therapy: uses certain parts of the immune system to treat cancer

– and vaccine therapy. Cancer preventive vaccines target infectious agents that cause or contribute to the development of cancer.

Depend on the type of leukemia (acute or chronic), your age and whether leukemia cells were found in your cerebrospinal fluid to choose the treatments in a right way.

 


Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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