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.
Leukaemia is a medical condition that begins in the bone marrow and lymphatic system of the human body. The disease starts when there is an abnormal and rapid growth of leukaemia cells in the bone marrow that soon crowd out the other normal blood cells in the bone marrow.
Consequently, leukaemia cells disrupt the release of normal blood cells in the bloodstream. This leads to a decline in the supply of oxygen to different organs and tissues. All this makes the body prone to bouts of infection and blood clots.
Leukaemia is believed to occur due to the mutation in the DNA of some blood cells. However, the factors that lead to this mutation are yet to be fully understood. Leukaemia normally occurs when immature white blood cells (leukaemia cells) begin to multiply rapidly and overcrowd the normal and healthy blood cells in the bone marrow and bloodstream.
This leads to a decline in the number of healthy white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. All these factors combined together contribute to the signs and symptoms of leukaemia.
The major types of leukaemia are:
Signs and symptoms of leukemia:
When there is cancer in the blood-forming tissues of the body including the lymphatic system and bone marrow, it is termed as leukemia. There exist various types of leukemia out of which some are more common in children than in adults.
White blood cells are extremely important for fighting against infections. As per the needs of the body, the white blood cells grow and divide. However, if abnormal production of white blood cells occurs, then the person suffers from leukemia for which the treatment can be complex.
Based on the type of leukemia the symptoms may vary. Some of the common signs and symptoms of leukemia are:
It is important to note that not all cases of childhood leukaemia will not exhibit the aforementioned symptoms. This is because the symptoms of childhood anaemia vary owing to multiple factors. Also, most of the symptoms mentioned above are common and may not necessarily indicate childhood leukaemia.
Besides the symptoms, there are certain other risk factors that are believed to be linked to an increased risk of childhood leukaemia. Some of those risk factors are:
To get a more detailed assessment of your child’s health condition, you should consult a physician or a paediatrician who will carry out certain tests and assessments before diagnosing the condition.
The stages of leukaemia are:
Scientists have not been able to diagnose the exact cause of leukemia until now. A person might suffer from this condition because of environmental and genetic factors. For example, if a person is exposed to certain chemicals like benzene, found in gasoline then he/she might suffer from leukemia. Similarly, those who smoke are more likely to have leukemia. If a person has a family history of leukemia, then the risk is also increased.
Leukaemia, commonly known as blood cancer, is a medical condition that affects the bone marrow and lymphatic system in the human body. Normally, the blood-forming cells (hematopoietic stem cells) in bone marrow develop into myeloid cells or lymphoid cells. These cells further develop into Red Blood Cells (RBCs), White Blood Cells (WBCs) and Platelets.
However, leukaemia triggers an uncontrolled and rapid growth of leukaemia cells (immature white blood cells) in the bone marrow. Leukaemia cells begin to overcrowd the bone marrow and leave little space for other normal cells (RBCs, WBCs and platelets).
This causes an increase in the number of leukaemia cells in the bloodstream and decline in the number of normal blood cells. As a result, the supply of oxygen to different organs and tissues in the body is severely restricted and the likelihood of infections and blood clots increases significantly.
Patients with leukaemia may die from infections caused by bacteria, fungus, or a virus. This is the stage of leukaemia where the immune system of the body doesn't work properly and also cause multi-organ failure. Additionally, patients may also face problems with the treatment as well.
Patients with leukaemia may suffer from bone pain. It is caused by the accumulation of white blood cells which causes mild to severe pain in the bones, this is especially specific in long bones of the body such as legs or arms.
The spread of leukaemia starts from the soft part of the bones from where it spreads into the blood. As the tumour cells divide they can spread to other parts of the body as well such as the central nervous system, Lymph nodes, liver, spleen.
The physician will ask a person to undergo certain tests in order to look for signs of leukaemia. Some of the tests that you might be asked to undergo include:
Leukaemia is detected by frequent blood tests, physical exam, and the symptom. Some diagnostic exams of leukaemia are:
The treatment for the patient is determined based on the type of leukemia, overall health, and age of the person. The extent of the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body is also taken into consideration. Some of the common treatments which can be given to fight leukemia are given below:
It has been found in a study that carrots may be employed for treating leukaemia. Carrot contains β-carotene and polyacetylenes which has been found to be effective against leukaemia cells. However, it is best to take the proper treatment of leukaemia rather than treating it naturally as there is still not enough evidence that supports the study.
The success of leukaemia treatment depends upon several factors such as the stage of cancer, the type of leukaemia, age, and the overall health of the patient. The metastasis of the cancer cells also depends upon treatment.
Drugs Approved for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia are:
Drugs Approved for Acute Myeloid Leukemia are:
However, the most important of all these factors that affect long term survival are age and type of leukaemia.
Taking treatment for leukemia also causes side effects which may be seen in the patient during the course of medication or in the later stage. Common side effects are:
A person with leukaemia has a survival rate of about 61.4 % which is approximately a 5-year survival rate. Therefore, at least 69 out of 100 people survive for approximately 5 years following diagnosis. Some patients will longer than 5 years, depending upon their treatment.
The risk of developing leukemia can be reduced by doing the following things:
It is not possible to cure leukaemia with food. However, good nutrition does play an important part in healing body and boosting recovery from leukaemia. You can incorporate the below mentioned dietary practices in your daily lifestyle while fighting leukaemia:
Besides following the abovementioned practices, you should also engage in regular physical activity, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, quit smoking (if you do) and limit stress.
The survival rate of leukaemia keeps on improving. With adequate treatment, the patient may live longer than five years even after the prognosis. The treatment of leukaemia also depends upon its spread and severity.
According to Ayurveda, leukemia occurs because of three types of doshas Kaphas, Vata, and Pitta. The major role of ayurvedic treatment is to treat these doshas. The treatment offered by Ayurveda aims to detoxify the entire body with the help of diet and herbs.
The herbs are used for the efficient circulation of blood and cleansing action. They also eliminate the toxins from the body and improves overall immunity. Some of the herbal remedies which can be used for the treatment of leukemia are Tulsi capsules, Ashwagandha capsules, Curcumin capsules and Guggul capsules.