Leukemia, also spelled leukaemia, is a group of cancers that usually begin in the bone marrow and result in high numbers of abnormal white blood cells. These white blood cells are not fully developed and are called blasts or leukemia cells.
Leukemias can be acute or chronic, and people with chronic leukemias may not notice any symptoms before the condition is diagnosed with a blood test. Acute leukemias are more likely to cause symptoms. Symptoms of all forms of leukemia are related to the proliferation of abnormal blood cells and replacement of the bone marrow by the cancerous cells.
Symptoms of leukemia include fevers, night sweats, and swollen lymph nodes that are typically not painful or tender. Fatigue, weight loss, and bone or joint pain are other potential symptoms. Easy bruising and bleeding tendencies may result in bleeding from the gums, purplish patches on the skin, or small red spots under the skin.
Sometimes, there is swelling of the spleen or liver, causing pain or swelling in the abdomen. Frequent infections are another common sign of leukemia. If the brain is affected, there may be nausea and vomiting, confusion, headaches,seizures, or problems with muscle control.
Treatment may involve some combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, and bone marrow transplant, in addition to supportive care and palliative care as needed. Certain types of leukemia may be managed with watchful waiting. The success of treatment depends on the type of leukemia and the age of the person. Outcomes have improved in the developed world. The average five-year survival rate is 57% in the United States. In children under 15, the five-year survival rate is greater than 60 to 85%, depending on the type of leukemia. In children with acute leukemia who are cancer-free after five years, the cancer is unlikely to return.
In 2012, leukemia developed in 352,000 people globally and caused 265,000 deaths. It is the most common type of cancer in children, with three quarters of leukemia cases in children being the acute lymphoblastic type. However, about 90% of all leukemias are diagnosed in adults, with AML and CLL being most common in adults. It occurs more commonly in the developed world.
Leukimia facts :
Leukimia facts :
- Leukemia is a cancer of blood cells (and therefore sometimes referred to as blood cancer)
- While the exact cause(s) of leukemia is not known, risk factors have been identified, including radiation exposure and exposure to benzene.
- Common symptoms of chronic or acute leukemia may include : 1). pain in the bones or joints, 2). swollen lymph nodes that usually don't hurt, fevers or night sweats, 3). feeling weak or tired, 4). bleeding and bruising easily, 5) requent infections; 6). discomfort or swelling in the abdomen, 7). weight loss or loss of appetite.
- Leukemias are grouped by how quickly the disease develops (acute or chronic) as well as by the type of blood cell that is affected (lymphocytes or myelocytes). The four main types of leukemia include acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), acute myelocytic leukemia (AML), and chronic myelocytic leukemia (CML).
- People with leukemia are at significantly increased risk for developing infections, anemia, and bleeding. Other symptoms and signs include easy bruising, weight loss, night sweats, and unexplained fevers.
- The diagnosis of leukemia is supported by findings of the medical history and examination, and examining blood and bone marrow samples under a microscope.
- Treatment of leukemia depends on the type of leukemia, certain features of the leukemia cells, the extent of the disease, and prior history of treatment, as well as the age and health of the patient.
- Most patients with leukemia are treated with chemotherapy. Some patients also may have radiation therapy and/or bone marrow transplantation.
- There is no known way to prevent leukemia.
- The prognosis of leukemia depends upon several factors, including the patient's age, the type of leukemia, and the extent to which the cancer has spread. Continue Reading
Common treatments used to fight leukemia include:
Chemotherapy is the major form of treatment for leukemia. This drug treatment uses chemicals to kill leukemia cells.
2. Biological therapy
Biological therapy works by using treatments that help your immune system recognize and attack leukemia cells.
3. Targeted therapy
Targeted therapy uses drugs that attack specific vulnerabilities within your cancer cells.
4. Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy uses X-rays or other high-energy beams to damage leukemia cells and stop their growth. During radiation therapy, you lie on a table while a large machine moves around you, directing the radiation to precise points on your body.
5. Stem cell transplant
A stem cell transplant is a procedure to replace your diseased bone marrow with healthy bone marrow.
Before a stem cell transplant, you receive high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy to destroy your diseased bone marrow. Then you receive an infusion of blood-forming stem cells that help to rebuild your bone marrow.