Leukemia is a type of blood cancer. It starts when your bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells. These aberrant cells are then spread into your blood, crowding out your healthy infection fighting white blood cells.
From there this blood cancer can go to your:
Leukemia’s development is believed to be a combination of genetics and environment.
Prevalent early symptoms of leukemia:
- bruise easily
- enlarged liver
- loss of appetite
- activity dyspnea
- excessive bleeding
- frequent infections
- spleen enlargement
- swollen lymph nodes
- unreasonable sweating
- inexplicable weight loss
- below the ribs pain, fullness
- bone pain, tenderness ~ limping
It’s easy to overlook these early symptoms of leukemia because most are a match for other illnesses, like the flu for instance.
If you are experiencing persistent fatigue, weight loss, easy bruising, bleeding, swollen lymph glands and fever symptoms, it’s an occasion to pay a quick visit to your health care provider for a leukemia ruling out.
Leukemia can develop quickly (acute) or slowly (chronic). Most childhood forms of leukemia is acute, and in adults it typically occurs at middle age or thereafter. This speed of progression is coupled with the type of white blood cells affected for the purposes of classification.
Lymphocytic leukemia is a type of leukemia affecting lymphatic tissue cells. This tissue is the main component of the immune system, found in your lymph nodes, spleen and tonsils. Myelogenous leukemia is a type of leukemia affecting myeloid cells. These cells develop into red blood cells, white blood cells and platelet producing cells.
Using the aforementioned classifications, leukemia is then classified into major types as follows:
- chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) ~ mainly affects adults
- acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) ~ most common in young children
- hairy cell leukemia & chronic myelomonocytic leukemia ~ much rarer types
- chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) ~ a common adult leukemia, rarely seen in children
- acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), aka acute nonlymphocytic leukemia ~ most common type of leukemia, occurs in both children and adults
Over half of all childhood leukemias are acute lymphocytic leukemia, while just over a third are of the acute myelogenous leukemia type.
A leukemia diagnosis is a cause for concern and its treatment complex. Treatment therapies used to battle leukemia include:
- kinase inhibitors
- radiation therapy
- arsenic trioxide drug therapy
- bone marrow & stem cell transplant
You may also choose to enroll in leukemia clinical trials. You’ll likely need to take pain and side effects control medication as well. Death as a consequence of leukemia is usually from bleeding or infection.
Generally chronic leukemia is hard to cure. Whereas, treatment repeatedly cures acute childhood leukemia.
A couple of strategies to help you persevere acute, chronic or childhood leukemia treatment struggles include:
- take an active role in your treatment
- stay active ~ if you feel good, just do it
- maintain a strong support system and a positive attitude
- set goals and keep a sense of purpose ~ but be reasonable
- relax, eat healthy and get plenty of sleep to withstand the stress & fatigue of cancer and its treatment
- do your research ~ couple reliable sources are National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
And a positive attitude, healthy diet and regular movement contributes to your beating this blood leeching cancer. Do your part to knock it out, while mighty science does the rest!