- Basic Introduction about leukemia
- Risk Factors of leukemia
- Types of leukemia
- Symptoms of leukemia
Leukemia is basically a cancer of blood or bone marrow. The term Leukemia means blood cancer which due to impure blood cells produced by the bone marrow. Leukemia can grow or develop due to a problem with blood cell production. The Leukemia usually attacks or affects the leukocytes or the white blood cells. The white cells which are also called as the soldiers of human body are affected by leukemia.
The people who are above or over the age of 55 years are the most common people those get affected by the leukemia or blood cancer because at the age of 55 the bone marrow cannot produce pure blood cells.
Leukemia is also the most common cancer in those people who are below the age of 15 years. This indicates that the children can also be easily affected by the Leukemia.
The National Cancer Institute had estimated that 61,780 people will have to go through a diagnosis of leukemia in the year 2019. They had also predicted that leukemia will be causing 22,840 deaths in the year 2019 and according to them there can rise in the total number of deaths in the year 2020 caused by Leukemia.
If the Leukemia is acute then it can be said that the cancer can grow or develops very quickly and Leukemia can be even worse on a rapid speed. The Chronic Leukemia can be worse if not identified on the initial stages of the cancer treatment. There are many and different types of Leukemia, and the course for the treatment and the chances of the survival of the person surviving from Leukemia depends on which type of Leukemia cancer they have.
Leukemia can grow faster or can be developed easily when the DNA (Doxyribose Nucleic Acid) of the developing blood cells in which the main focus is on the white blood cells and when the white blood cells incurs damage.
The bone marrow is developed when the healthy blood cells die and the new cells replace them. It is also said that the bone marrow of the human body can produce more cancer cells and when these cancer cells grow more and more in the crowd and as the cancer cells gets overcrowded they began to stop the preventing and the functioning of the of the healthy white blood cells produced by the bone marrow. These overcrowded cancer cells which are produced by the bone marrow stops the healthy white blood cells from developing and functioning normally.
RISK FACTORS OF LEUKEMIA:
There is a range of various risk factors for the cause of the leukemia blood cancer on the human body. Some of the most significant risk factors that are having more links to leukemia than any other diseases are as follows:
- Artificial Ionizing radiation: The Artificial Ionizing Radiation can include the radiation therapy which have been remained from the previous cancer that the person has suffered. Although this is more significant risk for some of the types of other cancers.
- Certain Viruses: Leukemia has its links with various viruses such as the Human T-lymphotropic (HTLV-1) and the link between these two can cause leukemia.
- Chemotherapy: Chemo therapy is the therapy which is given to the patients who are currently undergoing the treatment for the previous cancer they had. Chemotherapy is treatment for previous cancer and hence this treatment have a higher chance of developing leukemia in the later life of the person who is undergoing the treatment.
- Genetic Conditions: The children who are having Down syndrome, they have a third copy of the chromosome 21. The children who have the Down syndrome have higher risk of being affected by acute myeloid or the acute lymphocytic leukemia. The percentage is 2% to 3% in the children with the Down syndrome and it is much higher than the children who done have the Down syndrome.
Another genetic condition that has links with Leukemia is Li-Fraumeni syndrome and this thing causes a change to the TP53 gene which may lead to leukemia.
- Benzene Exposure: Benzene is a solvent that is mostly used by the Manufacturers of some of the cleaning chemicals or hair dyes. Extreme use of these products can also increase the risk of developing leukemia or blood cancer.
- Inherited problems with the immune system: some of the inherited immune conditions increases the risk of leukemia like:
- Bloom syndrome
- Schwachman-Diamond syndrome
- Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome
- Immune Suppression: The immune suppression of the immune system leads to the rapid development of the childhood leukemia (which mostly occurs in the children).
This may rise when the child is undergoing an organ transplant treatment to prevent the body from rejecting the organ.
Some risk factors that further needs to be studied to confirm their link to leukemia like:
- Exposing to electromagnetic fields
- Exposing to certain chemicals in the workplace like gasoline, pesticides and diesel.
- Excessive usage of hair dyes.
TYPES OF LEKEMIA:
There are four main types of leukemia namely:
- Acute leukemia
- Chronic leukemia
- Lymphocytic leukemia
- Myelogenous leukemia
- Acute Leukemia:
During the life span of the white blood cells, they go through several stages.
In the acute leukemia the cells of the human body develops and multiply very quickly and gets collected in the marrow of the blood. These cells exit the bone marrow too early and are not developed to function properly.
Acute leukemia overcrowds the healthy blood cells of the body faster or quickly than then the chronic leukemia. The acute Lymphocytic leukemia mainly occurs in the children who are below 5 years of age but it can also affects the adults and more specifically the person or people who are above 50 year of age and out of every 5 deaths from all the patients, four deaths will be of adults.
- Chronic Leukemia:
The chronic leukemia is a bit slower than the acute leukemia and progresses more slowly. Chronic leukemia also allows for the production or development of more mature and useful cells. Chronic leukemia commonly occurs among the adults who are above or more than 55 years of age. Approximately 15% of the adults suffering from leukemia have chronic leukemia.
- Lymphocytic Leukemia:
The lymphocytic leukemia is also called as the chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The lymphocytic leukemia is the most common leukemia between the adults who are or over 55 years of age and it can also affect or can develop in the adults who are younger. The lymphocytic leukemia occurs mainly in men rather than women. 25% of the lymphocytic leukemia or the chronic lymphocytic leukemia occur in the adults who are over 55 years of age.
- Myelogenous Leukemia:
There are two types of myelogenous leukemia i.e.
- Acute Myelogenous Leukemia: The Acute Myelogenous leukemia (AML) more commonly occurs in the adults rather than children. The Acute Myelogenous leukemia (AML) is a rare cancer and it develops in men than women. The AML grows or develops quickly and the symptoms are high fever, difficulty while breathing and paining in the joints and changes in the environment can also trigger the Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.
- Chronic Myeloid Leukemia: The Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia or CML most commonly develops in the adults as compared to children. There are very rare cases of the chronic myeloid leukemia in the children. Approximately 15% of all the leukemia cases that are registered in the United States of America are Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.
SYMPTOMS OF LEUKEMIA:
The following are the symptoms of Leukemia:
- Poor Blood Clotting: If the person is suffering from leukemia, this cancer can cause a person bleed easily. If the person has got a cut then he/she can bleed easily and the healing of that cut can take much more time than the normal healing period of the cut. And these symptoms indicate that the blood is not clotting properly. When the immature white blood cells crowd out the platelets then petechiae is developed and this is very crucial thing for blood clotting.
- Anemia: A person can be anemic when the count of the effective red blood cells (RBC’s) decreases. This means or indicates that the person do not have enough hemoglobin in his or her blood. Due to Anemia there can be shortage of iron in the body and may lead to difficult or labored breathing problems and the skin can get pale.
- Frequent Infections: The white blood cells (WBC’s) are very important or can also say very crucial because if the white blood cells (WBC’s) are not working properly then this may lead to various and develop frequent infections. The body’s cell can also be attacked by the immune system of the own body.
- Some of the other symptoms of Leukemia or Blood Cancer are:
- Night Sweats
- Bone Pain
- Weight loss
- Swollen liver, etc.
The above symptoms can be the symptoms of other illness as well but consulting a doctor for these is very much necessary.
If a person is being diagnosed for leukemia, the doctor will start the diagnosis with the physical examination and also will check the personal medical history and the family medical history if the patient. The doctor will also check for the signs of anemia and will also check that whether the liver is enlarged or spleen. The doctor will also take a blood sample for the assessment in the laboratory.
If the leukemia is suspected then the doctors may suggest a bone marrow test in which a surgeon will extract the bone marrow and this can help the doctors to identify that what type of leukemia is present.
The treatment of leukemia totally depends upon the type of leukemia that a person is suffering from, the age of the person, and the overall health of the patient. The primary method used for the treatment of leukemia is chemotherapy in which the cancer care team examines the patient and identify the type of leukemia. And if the treatment of leukemia starts early then there is a chance that the patient achieving the remission will be high.
The treatment for leukemia includes:
- Chemotherapy: In this type the doctor examines medications intravenously (IV), using a needle and kills cancer.
- Targeted Therapy: In this type of treatment, tyrosine kinase inhibitors are used that targets the cancer cells without disturbing other cells which automatically reduces the risk of side effects.
- Surgery: In this type of surgery they remove the spleen but this treatment also depends on the type of leukemia that a person has.
- Stem cell transplantation: In this treatment, the cancer care team destroys the existing bone marrow which has been there during chemotherapy and after destroying the old bone marrow, they infuse new stem cells into the bone marrow of the patient to create new or non-cancer cells.