What Is Leukemia?
Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells, which help fight infection. It is caused by the uncontrolled growth of these cells. Leukemia starts in the bone marrow,
which is the spongy part inside the bones where blood cells are made. The cancer cells spread to the blood that circulates in the arteries and veins.
What Are the Key Statistics About Leukemia?
- The American Cancer Society estimates that 54,270 people will be diagnosed with leukemia this year.
- About 24,450 people are expected to die from leukemia in the year 2015.
- Leukemia is commonly thought of as a childhood disease, yet it is diagnosed 10 times more often in adults
What Are the Types of Leukemia?
- Based on the time it takes one to develop the disease, leukemia has two forms,acute and chronic leukemia.
- Acute leukemia begins over a short period of time. In acute leukemia, there is a fast growth of immature cells in the bone marrow and peripheral blood.
Chronic leukemia develops over a longer period of time. Compared to acute leukemia, it has more mature cells in the bone marrow and peripheral blood.
Based on the type of blood cells, leukemia is divided into lymphocytic and myelogenous leukemia.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Leukemia?
- There are no exact signs and symptoms of leukemia.
- General symptoms include fatigue, or lack of energy, and flu-like symptoms including fever.
- A loss of appetite may also occur.
- Shortness of breath when active and a pale color of the skin and mucous membranes (this includes the lining of the inside of the nose and mouth). These symptoms are related to anemia, which is a decrease in the red blood cells that carry oxygen.
- Easy bruising and bleeding due to a drop in the platelet count. Platelets are part of the blood cells that help form blood clots.Poor wound healing and infections.
- This is because many of the white cells are immature and therefore not able to do their job.
What Are the Causes of Leukemia?
- The exact cause of leukemia is not known.
- In very rare cases, chemotherapy or radiation therapy used to treat one cancer leads to leukemia.
- There are no known ways to prevent leukemia.