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Leukemia: Causes, Symptoms, Classification, Types, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Oct 18, 2023

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Causes Of Leukaemia

Symptoms Of Leukaemia

Classification Of Leukaemia

Types of leukemia

Risk Factors Of Leukaemia

Diagnosis Of Leukaemia

Treatment Of Leukaemia

Leukemia: Causes, Symptoms, Classification, Types, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the bone marrow, lymphatic system, and other tissues that produce blood.

Leukemia can take many different forms. Some leukemia types are more common in children. Whereas in Adults other leukemia types can be found.

Leukemia typically affects white blood cells. Your white blood cells are powerful anti-infection agents, and when your body needs them, they normally expand and divide in an ordered way. However, the bone marrow overproduces abnormal, defective white blood cells in leukemia patients.

Treatment for leukemia may be challenging depending on the condition's type and other factors. Some techniques and resources can help your treatment be successful.

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Causes Of Leukaemia

Scientists do not yet know the exact causes of leukemia. Both inherited traits and environmental factors seem to have contributed to it.

The most common theory regarding the development of leukemia is that certain blood cells would become abnormal or have abnormalities in their DNA or genetic code.A cell's DNA contains the instructions that tell it what to do. In many cases, the DNA gives instructions to the cell on how to grow and when to die. In leukemia, the mutations give the blood cells the go-ahead to keep multiplying and expanding.

This causes the production of blood cells to go out of hand. Over time, these could cause the number of healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets in the bone marrow to decrease.

Symptoms Of Leukaemia

There are numerous leukemia symptoms that vary depending on the type of the disease. Common leukemia symptoms and signs include:

  • Fever or a cold
  • Persistent fatigue and weakness
  • Severe or recurring infections
  • Swollen lymph nodes, the liver, or the spleen
  • Losing weight without effort
  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Repeated nosebleeds
  • Your skin has tiny red spots called petechiae.
  • Profuse sweating, especially during the night
  • Bone pain and tenderness

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Classification Of Leukaemia

Methods for classifying leukemia

Doctors classify leukemia according to the cells involved and the pace of progression.

  • According to how quickly leukemia develops, the first classification is made:
    • Acute leukemia: Young blood cells called blasts are abnormal in acute leukemia. The condition immediately gets worse as a result of their rapid multiplication and inability to perform their normal functions. Acute leukemia requires urgent and vigorous treatment.
    • Chronic Leukemia: Chronic leukemia comes in a variety of types. Some cause the development of either an excessive number of cells or too few. In chronic leukemia, more mature blood cells are implicated. Despite their decreased rate of reproduction or accumulation, these blood cells can continue to function correctly for a while. Some forms of chronic leukemia don't initially exhibit any symptoms, which might cause them to go undetected or untreated for years.
  • Based on the type of affected white blood cell, the second classification approach is as follows:
    • Lymphocytic leukemia: This kind of leukemia affects lymphocytes, which are the building blocks of lymphoid or lymphatic tissue. Lymphatic tissue makes up the immune system in your body.
    • Myelogenous leukemia: This particular type of leukemia affects myeloid cells. Red and white blood cells and platelet-producing myeloid cells are all formed by myeloid cells

Types of leukemia

The primary subtypes of leukemia are as follows:

  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia, or ALL. This type of leukemia most usually affects young children. Adults might also experience ALL.
  • Acute myelogenous leukemia, or AML. AML is a common kind of leukemia. Both adults and children can use it. AML most usually develops in adults with acute leukemia.
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is also known as CLL. Years may pass before signs of CLL, the most common chronic adult leukemia, necessitate treatment.
  • Chronic myeloid leukemia, also called CML. Adults are most usually affected by this type of leukemia. A person with CML may experience few symptoms or none at all for months or years before the leukemia cells entering a phase.
  • Other types. Myelodysplastic syndromes, hairy cell leukemia, and myeloproliferative diseases are a few other, less prevalent types of leukemia.

Risk Factors Of Leukaemia

Some factors that could increase your risk of developing specific types of leukemia include

  • Previous cancer treatment: People who have received specific types of radiation and chemotherapy for other diseases have an increased risk of developing certain types of leukemia.
  • Inherited traits: Genetic abnormalities seem to play a role in leukemia development. Certain genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome, are associated with an increased risk of leukemia.
  • Exposure to a certain chemical: When people are exposed to specific chemicals, such as the gasoline additive benzene, which is used in the chemical industry, they are more prone to acquiring certain types of leukemia.
  • Smoking: Acute myelogenous leukemia risk is increased by smoking.
  • A family history of leukemia: If you or a member of your family has been diagnosed with leukemia, your risk of contracting the disease may be increased.
  • In contrast, the majority of people with known risk factors do not get leukemia. Additionally, many leukemia patients do not have any of these risk factors.

Diagnosis Of Leukaemia

Regular blood tests by the doctor may detect chronic leukemia before symptoms emerge. If this happens, or if you display symptoms or signs indicative of leukemia, you could undergo one of the following diagnostic procedures:

  • Physical examination: Your doctor will check you for physical leukemia symptoms, such as pale skin caused by anemia, swollen lymph nodes, and an enlarged liver and spleen.
  • Blood testing: To determine if you have leukemia, your doctor can test a sample of your blood to check for abnormally high or low levels of platelets, red blood cells, or white blood cells. A blood test can nevertheless identify the presence of leukemia cells even though not all types of leukemia cause the leukemia cells to circulate in the blood. Leukemia cells can occasionally persist in Bone marrow
  • A bone marrow examination: Your doctor might suggest a procedure to extract bone marrow from your hip bone. The bone marrow is taken out using a long, thin needle. The sample is sent to a lab for leukemia cell detection. Your treatment options may be determined by characteristics that expert testing of your leukemia cells may reveal.

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Treatment Of Leukaemia

Many factors affect how you will be treated for leukemia. Your doctor will determine your leukemia treatment options based on your age, general health, the type of leukemia you have, and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body, like the central nervous system.

These techniques are regularly used to cure leukemia:

  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the principal leukemia treatment. This drug contains chemicals that destroy leukemia cells. Depending on the type of leukemia you have, a single medication or a combination of medications may be administered. These drugs can be injected directly into a vein or consumed as pills.
  • Targeted Drug Therapy: Targeted drug therapies concentrate on certain flaws found frequently in cancer cells. By stopping these abnormalities, targeted drug therapy can destroy cancer cells. Your leukemia cells will be analyzed to see if targeted therapy might be helpful for you.
  • Radiation therapy: In radiation therapy, leukemia cells are damaged and their ability to proliferate is inhibited by high-energy beams like X-rays. During radiation therapy, you lie on a table while a huge machine revolves around you, directing the radiation toward certain parts of your body. A specific area of your body where leukemia cells are concentrated can be treated with radiation, or your complete body can be covered. Radiation therapy is a method for preparing for a bone marrow transplant.
  • Bone marrow transplant: A bone marrow transplant, also known as a stem cell transplant, helps to restore healthy stem cells by replacing defective bone marrow with leukemia-free stem cells that will rebuild healthy bone marrow.
    • Before a bone marrow transplant, you get incredibly high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy to destroy your leukemia-producing bone marrow. Then, to aid in bone marrow regeneration, blood-forming stem cells are injected into you. You might be able to obtain stem cells from a donor or use your own.
  • Immunotherapy: To fight cancer, immunotherapy makes use of your immune system. Your body's disease-fighting immune system might not attack your cancer because cancer cells might produce proteins that help them hide from immune system cells. To function, immunotherapy must alter that process.
  • Utilizing immune cell engineering to treat leukemia: Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy is a specialized method that uses genetically modified T cells from your immune system to fight cancer. The use of CAR-T cells in treatment may be a possibility for some types of leukemia.
  • Research studies: Clinical trials investigate both cutting-edge uses of currently recommended treatments and brand-new cancer medicines. While clinical trials provide the greatest opportunity for you or your child to experiment with the most recent cancer treatment, there are benefits and hazards to consider.

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