What Is Leukemia?
Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells. bllod cancer is categories into various types blood cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. usually more production of white blood cells lead to leukemia.
White bllod cells are a important part of your immune system. They defend your body from the attacks of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, as well as from malignanat cells and other foreign substances. In leukemia, the WBCs don’t function like normal WBCs. They can also divide too rapidly and eventually destroy normal cells.
WBCs are mainly generated in the bone marrow, but some types of white blood cells are also produced in the lymph nodes, spleen, and thymus gland. Once they are produced, WBCs spread throughout your body in your blood and lymph, concentrating in the lymph nodes.
The Types of Leukemia
The onset of leukemia can be acute or chronic. In acute leukemia, cancer cells multiply rapidly. In chronic leukemia, the disease progresses slowly and proir symptoms may be very delicate.
There are four main types of leukemia:
1.Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)
Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) can appear in children and adults. According to National Cancer Institute (NCI), about 18,000 peoples diagnosed annually in the United States.
2.Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)
Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) appers mostly in children. About 6,000 peoples are diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia annually.
3.Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) are found mostly in adults. About 7,000 peoples are diagnosed annually.
4.Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is most likely to be found in people over the age of 55. It’s very rarely seen in children. About 15,000 peoples are diagnosed annually.
Risk Factors for Leukemia
The causes of leukemia are not known. However, various factors have been speculated which may increase your risk. These include:
a family history of leukemia
smoking, which increases your risk of developing AML
genetic disorders such as Down syndrome
blood disorders, such as myelodysplastic syndrome, which sometimes called “preleukemia”
previous treatment for cancer with chemotherapy or radiation
exposure to high levels of radiation
exposure to chemicals such as benzene
What Are the Symptoms of Leukemia?
The symptoms of leukemia include:
excessive sweating, especially at night (called “night sweats”)
fatigue and weakness that don’t go away with rest
unintentional 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, called petechiae
bleeding and bruising easily
fever or chills
Leukemia can also cause symptoms in organs that have been invaded or affected by the cancer cells. For example, if the cancer invades to the central nervous system, it can cause headaches, nausea and vomiting, confusion, loss of muscle control, and seizures.
Leukemia may be diagnosed if you have certain risk factors, or symptoms. Your physician will begin with a complete history and physical inspection, but leukemia can’t be fully suspected by physical exam. Instead, physcians will use blood tests, biopsies, and imaging tests to diagnose you.
There are a various number of tests that can be used to diagnose leukemia. A complete blood count determines the numbers of RBCs, WBCs, and platelets in the blood. Looking at your blood with a microscope can also suspect if the cells have an malignant tumors.
Tissue inspection can be taken from the bone marrow or lymph nodes to look for trace of leukemia. These minor samples can determine the type of leukemia and its developing rate. Biopsies of other organs such as the liver and spleen can show if the cancer has circulated.
Leukemia is mostly treated by a hematologist-oncologist. These are physcians who specialize in blood disorders and cancer. The treatment depends on the type and level of the cancer. Some forms of leukemia grow moderatley and don’t need quick treatment.