Health Care and Leukemia

One of the
most dreaded diagnoses you can get from your doctor, and one that everyone
fears, is the word cancer. In particular, those who are diagnosed with Leukemia
have a difficult time understanding why and how they contract this disease.
Children can be especially hard hit with various types of leukemia; but caught
early enough, the outcome can be very positive.

Leukemia
is cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues, including the bone marrow and
the lymphatic system. Many types of leukemia exist. Some forms of leukemia are
more common in children. Other forms of leukemia occur mostly in adults. The
disease starts in the white blood cells;
in people with leukemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal white
blood cells, which don’t properly function.

According
to the Leukemia Research Foundation, every four
minutes, someone
is diagnosed with blood cancer – more than 176,000 new cases are expected this
year in the United States.
More than 310,000 Americans are living with
leukemia. This disease causes more deaths than any
other cancer among children and young adults under the age of 20; however,
leukemia
is diagnosed 10 times more often in adults than children. Every day 143
Americans
are diagnosed with leukemia, and 66 lose the fight. Much more detailed
material can be found at this website:
http://www.allbloodcancers.org/disease-information-support .

The exact
cause of leukemia is unknown. Different kinds of leukemia are believed to have
different causes. Both inherited and environmental (non-inherited) factors are
believed to be involved. Risk
factors include smoking, ionizing radiation, some chemicals (such as benzene),
prior chemotherapy, and Down syndrome. People with a family history of leukemia
are also at higher risk.

There are
four main types of leukemia: acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid
leukemia (AML), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and chronic myeloid leukemia
(CML), as well as a number of less common types. Leukemia is part of a broader
group of neoplasms which affect the blood, bone marrow, and lymphoid system,
known as tumors of the hematopoietic and lymphoid tissues.

Treatment
may involve some combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted
therapy, and bone marrow transplant, in addition to supportive care and
palliative care as needed. Certain types of leukemia may be managed with
watchful waiting. The success of treatment depends on the type of leukemia and
the age of the person.

The
average five-year survival rate is 57% in the United States. In children under
15, the five-year survival is greater than 60 to 85%, depending on the type of
leukemia. In people with acute leukemia who are cancer-free after five years, the
cancer is unlikely to return. More details on Leukemia can be located at this
site:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leukemia .

According
to the American Cancer Fund, leukemia symptoms can vary widely, depending on
the type of leukemia you have. Common leukemia symptoms include:

·        
Fever or chills 

·        
Recurrent nosebleeds

·        
Persistent fatigue, weakness

·        
Frequent or severe infections

·        
Bone pain or tenderness

·        
Losing weight without trying

·        
Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver
or spleen

·        
Easy bleeding or bruising

·        
Excessive sweating, especially at
night

Leukemia symptoms are often vague and not specific. You may
overlook early leukemia symptoms because they may resemble symptoms of the flu
and other common illnesses.

Rarely, leukemia may be discovered during blood tests for
some other condition. Much more info on this topic can be found at this site: https://americancancerfund.org/cancer-types/leukemia/
.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), also called acute
lymphocytic leukemia or acute lymphoid leukemia, is a fast-growing cancer of a
type of white blood cells called lymphocytes. About 6,000 people in the United
States are diagnosed with ALL each year. It is the most common type of leukemia
in children under age 15. However, it can affect people of any age. The cause
of ALL is unknown, according to the National Cancer Institute.

If you are diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukemia,
or an immune system or genetic disease, a bone marrow or cord blood transplant
(also called a BMT) may be a treatment option for you. Learning more about your
disease and treatment options will help you make informed decisions about your
care. A significant amount of material concerning this disease can also be
found at this site: http://bethematch.org/For-Patients-and-Families/Learning-about-your-disease/.
 

ALL
progresses rapidly, replacing healthy cells that produce functional lymphocytes
with leukemia cells that can’t mature properly, according to Cancer Treatment
Centers of America. The leukemia cells are carried in the bloodstream to other
organs and tissues, including the brain, liver, lymph nodes and testes, where
they continue to grow and divide. The growing, dividing and spreading of these
leukemia cells may result in a number of possible symptoms. You can find
options for treatment and more at this website: http://www.cancercenter.com/leukemia/
.

It is impossible
in one short article to discuss all the ramifications about leukemia, its
affect on your body, and possible outcomes. The list of websites in this
information can serve as an initial guide to help with how to begin researching
more options and resources to know more about leukemia. If you feel that you or
someone you know may be experiencing certain health issues symptomatic to this
disease, visit your health care provider or family physician for a more
thorough diagnosis. The sooner you can begin treatment, the better opportunity you
have for long term survival. Always consult a doctor or trained medical
practitioner for any problems regarding your health.