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Leukemia, commonly known as blood cancer, is a broad term for cancer of white blood cells. It usually starts with abnormal white blood cells in bone marrow, a cavity inside the bones that produce blood cells.
White blood cells provide the first line of defense against infections from microbes, and when leukemia occurs, the ability of the body to fight infections diminishes.
It is common cancer in the young population compared to the old population.
It is the 10th most common cancer in the world. Each year there are approximately 61000 new cases in the USA. Leukemia generally happens in children. However, some types are more common among adults. Men are affected more than females, and the reason is unknown for this.
The exact reason for leukemia is unknown. However, a mix of genetic and environmental factors has been known to predispose this condition.
A rare type of leukemia impacting the adult population. It occurs more commonly in men. It isn't very pleasant and occurs due to smoking and exposure to chemicals like benzene.
Most common in children under five years and adults under 40. It is common in the White population. Previous cancer treatments, radiation exposure, and genetics play a vital role in the development of ALL.
This cancer develops in very old patients over 65 years of age. However, it is common in men. Philadelphia chromosome has been attributed to the formation of CML. It creates a new gene that leads to abnormal blood cells.
Most common among older adults, especially men. It causes excess and abnormal lymphocytes formation. It is again a rare condition mostly found in the white population.
Other types of leukemia are very rare like
Leukemia is a blood cancer that is staged differently than other tumors. Its staging is based on the number of abnormal white blood cells. Each subtype of leukemia is staged differently than others.
Leukemia can be diagnosed through various tests, which includes
After taking the patient's history, the doctor will check for cardinal signs of cancer, including palpating lymph nodes in the neck and armpits, spleen, gums, etc. If any swelling is found, other tests will be recommended.
It provides a picture of different blood cells like RBCs, WBCs, and platelets. In the case of leukemia, the cells will have dysplasia which means they will be in abnormal shape and sizes.
If the CBC tests are abnormal, the doctor will take a bone marrow sample using a long needle to draw out the bone marrow sample. It will be analyzed, and leukemia will be diagnosed if there is the presence of immature white blood cells.
Other tests which are needed are
The treatment of leukemia varies according to the type and other factors like age or coexisting disease. The treatment starts with an intense phase to a maintenance phase running across 42 months.
is also known as stem cell transplantation or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Healthy stem cells are placed into the patient's body to replace cancerous cells in this treatment. A bone marrow transplant can come from your own body (autologous transplant) or another donor's body (allogeneic transplant).
Different chemotherapeutic medications are used to treat different types of leukemia. There might be a single or combination of different drugs that can be used to treat leukemia. It is the preferred treatment for AML.
This treatment uses immune cells to kill the cancerous cells. For example, chimeric antigen receptor therapy (CAR-T)
This treatment involves targeting the abnormal mutated cells directly and sparing the body's normal cells. It has been used in CML and ALL types of Leukemias.
Different factors contribute to the prognosis of leukemia, such as the stage at which it is diagnosed, spread, type of leukemia, mutations, and treatment response. The five-year survival rate of Leukemias is approximately 61%. The younger patients have a better survival rate than older ones.
Leukemia compromises the ability of the body to fight infections seriously. Due to lack of healthy WBCs, the body becomes susceptible to infections like pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and various types of skin infections
Pulmonary hemorrhage and brain hemorrhage
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