Sign, symptoms, diagnosis & treatment of leukaemia

leukaemia-lymphoma2-blood cancer

What is Leukaemia ? 

Cancer of white blood cells which begins in bone marrow is termed as Leukaemia. Its a malignant progressive disease in which the bone marrow and other blood-forming organs produce increased numbers of immature or abnormal leucocytes. These suppress the production of normal blood cells, leading to anaemia and other symptoms.

Leukemias

Leukemia, also spelled leukaemia, is a group of cancers that usually begin in the bone marrow and result in high numbers of abnormal white blood cells. These white blood cells are not fully developed and are called blasts or leukemia cells

Development of leukemia

Any type of early blood-forming cell of the bone marrow can turn into a leukemia cell. The leukemia cells could reproduce quickly, and might not die when they should. Instead they survive and build up in the bone marrow. Over time, these cells spill into the bloodstream and spread to other organs.

Types of leukemia

There are 4 main types of leukemia:

  • Acute myeloid (or myelogenous) leukemia (AML)
  • Chronic myeloid (or myelogenous) leukemia (CML)
  • Acute lymphocytic (or lymphoblastic) leukemia (ALL)
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

 Acute leukemia versus chronic leukemia

The first factor in classifying leukemia is whether most of the abnormal cells are mature (look like normal white blood cells) or immature (look more like stem cells).

Acute leukemia: In acute leukemia, the bone marrow cells cannot mature properly. Immature leukemia cells continue to reproduce and build up. Without treatment, most people with acute leukemia would live only a few months. Some types of acute leukemia respond well to treatment, and many patients can be cured. Other types of acute leukemia have a less favorable outlook.

Chronic leukemia: In chronic leukemia, the cells can mature partly but not completely. These cells may look fairly normal, but they generally do not function as normal white blood cells do. They also live longer and suppress normal cells. Chronic leukemias tend to progress over a longer period of time, and most people can live for many years.

Myeloid leukemia versus lymphocytic leukemia

The second factor in classifying leukemia is the type of bone marrow cells that are affected.

Myeloid leukemia: Leukemias that start in early forms of myeloid cells – the cells that make white blood cells (other than lymphocytes), red blood cells, or platelet-making cells (megakaryocytes) – are myeloid leukemias (also known as myelocytic, myelogenous, or non-lymphocytic leukemias).

Lymphocytic leukemia: Leukemias that start in immature forms of lymphocytes are called lymphocytic leukemias (also known as lymphoid or lymphoblastic leukemias).

Leukaemia symptoms

  • Anaemia
  • Tiredness
  • Repeated infection
  • Increased bruising and bleeding
  • Bone pain
  • Swollen tender gum
  • Skin rashes
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Enlarged lymph glands
  • Chest pains

Causes of Leukaemia 

  • Intense radiation exposure
  • Benzene exposure
  • Viruses like HTC leukaemia

Diagnosis of Leukaemia

  • Blood test
  • Bone marrow biopsy
  • Chest X ray
  • Lumbar puncture

Treatment of Leukaemia

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