Leukemia is a form of cancer that affects your body’s ability to make healthy blood cells. This cancer starts in the bone marrow, which is where new blood cells are made. Blood cells include Red blood cells that carry oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues and take carbon dioxide to the lungs that exhale.
White blood cells that help in fighting infections, diseases, and viruses.
Platelets that help in clotting blood
Leukemia generally refers to cancer of the white blood cells. It typically affects one of the two major types of white blood cells: lymphocytes and granulocytes. These cells move throughout the body to help the immune system fight off infections, viruses, and other intruding organisms. Leukemia that arise from lymphocytes are called lymphocytic leukemia, and those from granulocytes are called myeloid leukemia or myelogenous leukemia.
Leukemia is either acute or chronic. Further, the type of leukemia cell determines whether it is acute or chronic. Chronic Leukemia mainly affects older people and acute Leukemia affects adults as well as children.
About 2% of all cancers are Leukemia. It is more likely to develop in men than in women. Further, Leukemia occurs most often in older adults.
Some of the possible causes of Leukemia are:
Exposure to radiation and chemicals such as benzene and other hydrocarbons.
Exposure to curing agents that control other cancers.
Some genetic abnormalities such as down syndrome
Most cases of Leukemia occur in people without any family history of the disease and are not believed to be inherited. However, some forms of Leukemia, such as chronic lymphocytic Leukemia, can strike close relatives in the same family. Otherwise, no specific cause can be identified most of the time.
Symptoms of Leukemia
Early symptoms include
- Aching bones or joints
- Skin rashes
- Unexplained weight loss
- Bleeding or swollen gums
- Swollen glands (lymph nodes)
- A bulged spleen or liver, or a feeling of abdominal fullness
- Slow-healing cuts, nosebleeds, or frequent bruises.
A lot of these symptoms accompany the flu and other common medical issues.
Diagnosis For Leukemia
Your doctor may not suppose Leukemia based on your symptoms alone. However, during the physical examination, the doctor may find that you have an enlarged liver or spleen or swollen lymph nodes. Routine blood tests, especially blood cell counts, may show abnormal results.
Your doctor may order other tests at this point, including
- A bone marrow biopsy
- More blood tests, to check for abnormal cells
- Tests for any genetic abnormalities
Genetic tests are said to help determine exactly what type of Leukemia you have. These tests may also offer clues as to how you will respond to a specific therapy.
In general, chronic Leukemia progresses slower than acute leukemic. Without drugs or a bone marrow transplant, people with CML can live for several years until the disease starts to act like AML.
Treatment For Leukemia
The treatment of leukemia is among the most elaborate of all cancer therapies. It is a cancer of the bone marrow which manufactures most of the body’s disease-fighting cells. The treatment of leukemia wipes out these cells as well, along with the cancer cells.
Often, treatment severely compromises the immune function and the body’s ability to fight infection. Patients would require a tremendous amount of supportive care until they recover fully. That is why people with this disease should be treated in medical centers that routinely care for leukemia patients and that provide comprehensive supportive care, particularly during periods of immune suppression.
Anvayaa is dedicated to providing comprehensive care for seniors of all walks of life. Their team of experienced healthcare professionals can help senior citizens with Leukemia through their recovery process.