Leukemia is a blood cancer that is caused by a rise in the number of white blood cells in our body. Those white blood cells crowd out the red blood cells and platelets that your body needs to be healthy while the extra white blood cells do not work right. In simple, cancer is defined as the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells.
As cancer can develop anywhere in the body, In leukemia this rapid out-of-control growth of abnormal cells takes place in the bone marrow of the bones. This abnormal cancer cell then spills into the bloodstream. Unlike other cancers, leukemia generally does not form into a mass that can be visualized by imaging tests such as X-rays. As there are many types of leukemia in which some of which are more common in children than that in adults.
What Causes Leukemia?
Leukemia starts when the DNA of a single cell in the bone marrow changes and can not develop and even function normally. DNA is the instruction code for cell growth where the segment of DNA makes up genes, which are arranged on a larger formation called chromosomes. All cells that emerge from the initial mutated cell also have the mutated DNA.
What causes the damage to the DNA is still not known in all cases. Scientists have been able to locate changes in chromosomes of patients who are diagnosed with different types of leukemia.
What Are The Symptoms Of Leukemia?
Your symptoms depend, in part and also on what type of leukemia you have. However, the most common signs and symptoms include:
- pale skin tone
- easy bruising and bleeding. Bleeding includes nosebleeds and bleeding gums. purplish patches in the skin.
- tired easily, fatigue
- bone or joint pain
- swollen lymph nodes in the neck, stomach, and also enlarged liver or spleen.
- frequent infections
- night sweats
- shortness of breath
- weight loss
- pain or full feeling under the ribs usually on the left side
keep in your mind that if you have a chronic form of leukemia, you may not have any noticeable symptoms in the early stages.
How Is Leukemia Diagnosed?
Your doctor will conduct the physical examination, order a blood test,s and if results are suspicious order imaging tests, and then after that bone marrow biopsy.
your doctor will ask you about any symptoms that you are experiencing and check your lymph node for swollen or not. Your doctor may also look at your gums to see if they are swollen or bleeding, look for bruises or tiny red skin rash, and also a sign of a large spleen. You may not have any obvious symptoms if you have early-stage of chronic leukemia because some symptoms can be common relative to other illnesses such as fatigue.
Complete Blood Count
This blood test gives detail about the red blood cells, white blood cells as well as platelets. If you have leukemia you will have a lower than normal count of red blood cells and platelets higher than the normal count of white blood cells.
Blood Cell Examination
Other blood samples may be taken and checked for type as well as the shape of blood cells and also examined for other substances released by your body organs and tissue that may be the sign of disease.
Bone marrow Biopsy
If your white blood cell count is abnormal then your doctor will get a sample of cells from your bone marrow to diagnose leukemia. During this procedure, a long needle is used in order to draw out some fluid from the marrow of your bone from an area near your hip. It helps to determine the percentage of abnormal cells in the bone marrow which confirms the diagnosis.
Imaging And Other Tests
Your doctor may order a chest x-ray, CT scan, or MRI in order to diagnose leukemia if you have symptoms that indicate a complication. A lumbar puncture is also done in order to see if cancer had spread to the spinal fluid or not.
How Is Leukemia Treated?
Treatment of leukemia depends on the type of leukemia you have, your age, and if leukemia has spread to other organs. There are Five common categories for the treatment that includes:
It uses a strong beam of energy in order to kill leukemia cells or stop them from growing.
It is the chemicals given in pill form, administered through an IV into a vein in which these chemicals kill the leukemia cells.
This treatment also includes the biological theory which uses a certain drug to boost your body’s own defense system.
This treatment uses a drug that is focused on specific features of the leukemia cells.
Hematopoietic cell transplant
This procedure replaces the cancerous blood-forming cells that have been killed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy.