Leukemia – Causes, Symptoms, Types and Treatment

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Cancer is a process of uncontrolled abnormal cell growth and development. Under normal circumstances, cells are formed, mature, carry out their intended function, and then die. New cells are constantly regenerated in the body to replace those cells and to maintain normal cellular function.

One type of cancer is Leukimia. Cancer is a group of more than 100 diseases that have two important things in common. One is that certain cells in the body become abnormal. Another is that the body keeps producing large numbers of these abnormal cells. Leukemia cancer is of the blood cells. It will really helpful to know about normal blood cells and what happens to them when leukemia develops, to make us understand more about Leukimia.

Symptoms of Leukemia
There are many symptoms of leukemia and everyone will not experience the same symptoms. Some of the symptoms are: Weakness or chronic fatigue, Fever of unknown origin, Weight loss that is not due to dieting or exercise, Frequent bacterial or viral infections, Headaches, Skin rash, Nonspecific bone pain, Easy bruising, Bleeding from gums or nose, Blood in urine or stools, Enlarged lymph nodes and/or spleen, and Abdominal fullness.

Causes
CML can occur in adults (usually middle-aged) and children. The disease affects 1 to 2 people per 100,000 and accounts for 7 – 20% cases of leukemia. It is usually associated with a chromosome abnormality called the Philadelphia chromosome. CML causes rapid growth of the blood-forming cells (myeloid precursors) in the bone marrow, peripheral blood, and body tissues.

Persons with this type of cancer have abnormal cells inside their bone marrow. The cells grow very fast, and replace healthy blood cells. The bone marrow, which helps the body fight infections, eventually stops working correctly. Persons with AML become more prone to infections and have an increased risk for bleeding as the numbers of healthy blood cells decrease.

Types
Chronic leukemia – Early in the disease, the abnormal blood cells can still do their work, and people with chronic leukemia may not have any symptoms. Slowly, chronic leukemia gets worse. It causes symptoms as the number of leukemia cells in the blood rises.
Acute leukemia -The blood cells are very abnormal. They cannot carry out their normal work. The number of abnormal cells increases rapidly. Acute leukemia worsens quickly.

Chemotherapy
— drugs that destroy cancer cells or stop them from growing.

Bone marrow or cord blood transplant (also called a BMT) offers some patients the best chance for a long-term remission of their disease.
Gemtuzumab ozogamicin (Mylotarg) and Monoclonal antibodies are proteins designed to attach to leukemia cells and help the immune system destroy them.

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be taken by pill, or it may be put into the body by a needle in the vein or muscle. Chemotherapy is called a systemic treatment because the drug enters the bloodstream, travels through the body, and can kill cancer cells throughout the body. Chemotherapy also can be put directly into the fluid around the brain and spinal cord through a tube inserted into the brain or back. This is called intrathecal chemotherapy.

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