Your Guide to Leukemia
Leukemia is the cancer of bone marrow or blood. When the production of white blood cells gets hampered and abnormal, it may lead to leukemia. This ailmentaffects people across all age groups. There are different types of leukemia. Some are more frequently associated with certain age groups as compared to others.
What Are the Types of Leukemia?
- Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) is an acute form of blood cancer that results when there is an overproduction of immature white blood cells (lymphocytes) in the bone marrow. ALL progresses rapidly over time and replaces healthy cells that produce mature lymphocytes with leukemia cells are immature and do not function properly. ALL is also known as acute lymphoid leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.Itis common in children where it is generally associated with an excellent prognosis.
- Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)
Acute myelogenous leukemia is a rapidly growing cancer of the bone marrow and blood. Like acute lymphoblastic leukemia it is also characterized by the production of blasts – cells that have not completely matured. These blasts are of the myeloid series of white blood cells.
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia is a rather slow-growing cancer that begins in lymphocytes in the bone marrow and gradually extends into the blood. The term ‘chronic’ in medical science means that the disease develops slowly over time. In CLL, the immature and abnormal cells develop from early blood cells which are known as lymphoid blood stem cells. These cancerous white blood cells are called as B cells or B lymphocytes. The immature cells crowd the normal cells and prevent them from carrying out their normal tasks.
- Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia is also known as chronic myeloid leukemia,and chronic myelogenous leukemia. It is a type of blood cancer that affects the bone marrow. It occurs when cancerous cells start developing from myeloid blood stem cells and go on to become myelocytes. CML is also associated with Philadelphia chromosome (Ph chromosome). It can also change from its slow progressing nature to the rapidly growing acute form leukemia.
What are the Symptoms of Leukemia?
The common symptoms of leukemia include:
- Frequent infections
- Easy bleeding and bruising
- Painful joints and bones
- Swollen lymph nodes (armpit or neck)
- Discomfort in the abdomen
- Unexplained weight loss
- Shortness of breath
What Are the Possible Causes ofLeukemia?
While the actual cause of leukemia is unknown, many factorsincrease the risk. These factors include:
- Exposure to radiation therapy or chemotherapy due to previous cancer treatment
- Family history
- Myelodysplastic syndrome
- Weak immune system
- Prolonged exposure to benzene
- HIV and HTLV-1 (Human T-lymphotropic virus) virus infection
In most cases, one is not able to find a cause for the blood cancer.
How is Leukemia Diagnosed?
Even before the symptoms start showing up, leukemia may also be diagnosed by a routine blood test. However, the three majorways to diagnose leukemia include:
- A Physical Exam – The doctor checks for anemia, lymph node enlargement, abdominal examination to look for any swelling.
- Blood Tests–A sample of blood is tested to check if it has abnormal levels of platelets, white or red blood cells.
- Bone Marrow Test–A sample of bone marrow from the hipbone is taken to look for leukemia
What Are the Treatment Options for Leukemia?
Leukemia is a life-threatening condition but when treated at the best blood cancer hospital in Delhi like Max Healthcare, you can be assured of getting quality treatment.The primary objective of the doctors at any blood cancer hospital is always to eradicate the cancercompletely. The treatment options for blood cancer include:
- Radiation Therapy
- Biological Therapy
- Targeted Therapy
- Bone Marrow Transplant
- Blood Transfusion
When Is the Best Time to See a Doctor?
Any delay in the treatment of leukemia can make the condition worse. Though the symptoms of leukemia are often vague and may resemble common health disorders like flu, ifthey are persistent, getting them checked by a healthcare specialist becomes important and is highly advisable. Look for the best blood cancer hospital in Delhi for proper diagnosis and cure for blood cancer.
Author Name : – Dr. Pravas Chandra Mishra