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Leukemia - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Leukemia?

Blood cell cancer is also called leukemia. Blood cells have broad categories and include, WBCs (white blood cells), platelets and RBCs (red blood cells). Leukemia generally implies white blood cell cancer. WBCs are essential components of the immune system. They defend the body from invading viruses, fungi and bacteria in addition to foreign substances and abnormal cells. When affected with leukemia, the WBCs become abnormal in their functioning. They rapidly divide and over grow the normal cells. WBCs are generally formed in the marrow of the bones, but few WBC types are even produced in the spleen, thymus gland and lymph nodes. Once they have been created, WBCs travel throughout the body in the lymph and blood, having a greater concentration in the spleen and lymph nodes. The leukemia onset may be chronic or acute in nature. The cancerous cell rapidly multiply in acute type of leukemia. The disease gradually progresses in case of chronic leukemia and the initial symptoms might be quite mild. The cell’s type can also be the basis of classification for leukemia. Leukemia having myeloid cells or myelogenous leukemia is very severe. Monocytes or granulocytes are formed from immature cells or myeloid cells. Lymphocytic leukemia involves lymphocytes.

The four main kinds of leukemia are:

  • Acute Myelogenous Leukemia- It may take place in adults and children. It is the commonest type of leukemia.
  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)- It mostly occurs in children.
  • Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)- It mostly affects adults.
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)- People older than 55 years of age are mostly affected by it. Rarely does it affect children. A rare CLL subtype is hairy cell leukemia. It is named so due to cancerous lymphocytes appearing so when viewed with a microscope.

The causes for leukemia aren’t known. Several factors however are known to increase the risks for it.

They include:

  • A familial leukemia history
  • Smoking
  • Genetic conditions like Down syndrome
  • Blood disorders like myelodysplastic syndrome, also called pre leukemia
  • Previous cancer treatment with radiation or chemotherapy
  • High exposure to radiation
  • Chemical exposure like benzene

Organs that are affected or infiltrated by cancerous cells, might also show symptoms due to leukemia. For instance, if the CNS gets affected by cancer, it may result in nausea, vomiting, confusion, headaches, seizures and muscle control loss.

Leukemia may spread to other body parts like:

  • The lungs
  • Heart
  • Testes
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Kidneys
Can't be cured, but treatment helps Require medical diagnosis Lab test required
Cancer-related fatigue, chills, dizziness, fatigue, fever and loss of appetite. Blood in stool, diarrhoea and nausea. Swollen lymph nodes. Unintentional weight loss. Rashes or red spots on the body. Pain in the bones or joints.

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Popular Questions & Answers

How to control eosinophilia. I have a breathing problem in cold seasons. Due to excess cells of esophil. How to control them?

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We need to identify what is the cause It could be secondary to allergic disease like asthma and due to work infestations Deworming, treatment of filariasis and if not improving steroids help.

I have a brain TB sir I have lost my left eye I use medicines from past 1 year but take a 3 months gap then now I use medicines. I have a doubt which medicines and how long I use please tell me sir.

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Pulmonologist, Faridabad
Extended uninterrupted treatment for brain TB is recommended. We need to know the complete drug history and present status of brain TB along with time of interruption to decide further course of Anti tubercular treatment.

My mother was diagnosed for CLL after lot of tests including PET scan 5 months ago and the doctor said it is in first stage and needs no urgent treatment. Whether the treatment can be postponed for this?

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I am suffering from leukaemia currently my HGB 8.8 and my platelets 4 lakhs. How to recover from leukemia?

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Table of Content

What is Leukemia?

The four main kinds of leukemia are:

They include:

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