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LEUKEMIA AND EVERYTHING THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.

OVERVIEW

Leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow (the soft, sponge-like tissue in the center of most bones that makes blood cells) and blood. In recent times, Leukemia has turned out to be one of most deadliest form of cancer to which thousands of both children and adult lives have been lost to unfortunately.

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The survival rate is 57% in the United States in an average of 5years. In children under 15, the five-year survival rate is greater than 60 to 85%, depending on the type of leukemia. In children with acute leukemia who are cancer-free after five years, the cancer is unlikely to return.

According to Wikipedia In 2015, leukemia was present in 2.3 million people and caused 353,500 deaths. In 2012 it newly developed in 352,000 people. It is the most common type of cancer in children, with three quarters of leukemia cases in children being the acute lymphoblastic type. However, about 90% of all leukemias are diagnosed in adults, with AML and CLL being most common in adults. It occurs more commonly in the developed world.

Leukemia is the most common cancer in children and teens younger than 20, accounting for almost one out of three cancers.

Leukemia can be acute or chronic. Acute types of leukemia progress quickly, while chronic types of leukemia progress slowly, leading to different treatments.

There are two main kinds of leukemia are-

  • Lymphocytic leukemia (also known as lymphoblastic leukemia), is when the body makes too many of a certain kind of white blood cells, called lymphocytes.
  • Myelogenous leukemia (also known as myeloid or myelocytic leukemia), is when the body makes too many of a certain kind of white blood cells, called granulocytes.

MAIN CAUSES

Although the main causes have not  been fully discovered yet, however most likely causes have been hypothesized from different patients, such as-

  • Exposure to large doses of ionizing radiation or Benzene have caused leukemia in some people.
  • White people are more likely than black people to develop lymphocytic leukemia, but scientists do not know why. Scientists also do not know why men are more likely than women to develop leukemia.
  • Family history also has been linked with higher risk of some kinds of leukemia, such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
  • Most people with chronic myelogenous leukemia have a gene mutation (change) called the Philadelphia chromosome. It results in the bone marrow making an enzyme that causes too many stem cells to become white blood cells. The Philadelphia chromosome is not passed from parent to child.
  • Tobacco smoke contains cancer-causing chemicals such as benzene causes leukemia

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Leukemia can happen at any age, but is most common in people over 60.

SYMPTOMS

The early symptoms of acute myelogenous leukemia and acute lymphocytic leukemia may be like those caused by the flu or other common diseases. Symptoms include fever, night sweats, feeling tired, feeling out of breath, and bruising or bleeding easily.

The most common symptoms in children are easy bruising, pale skin, fever, and an enlarged spleen or liver

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Also Leukemia prevents the immune system from working normally, some people experience frequent infection, ranging from infected tonsils, sores in the mouth, or diarrhea to life threatening pneumonia or opportunistic infections.

September 22 is Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) Day. 9/22 represents the genetic change of chromosomes 9 and 22 that causes the disease.

TREATMENT

The type of treatment that are been administered to leukemia patients greatly depends on the type of leukemia that they’re suffering from, how long it’s been in existence, and how healthy the patients are. Main treatment options include:

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses one or more anti-cancer drugs as part of a standardized chemotherapy regimen. Chemotherapy may be given with a curative intent, or it may aim to prolong life or to reduce symptoms.

Surgery

Surgical operations are usually aimed at removing spleen that could be filled with cancer cells and is pressing on nearby organs. This procedure is called splenectomy.

Radiation

Radiation uses high-energy X-rays to kill leukemia cells or keep them from growing.

Therapy

There are majorly two types of therapy, they include;

Biologic therapy, also called immunotherapy, helps your immune system find and attack cancer cells. Drugs can help boost your body’s natural defenses against leukemia.

Targeted therapy uses drugs to block specific genes or proteins that cancer cells need to grow. This treatment can stop the signals leukemia cells use to grow and divide, cut off their blood supply, or kill them directly.

Regardless of its symptoms, causes and its effect on human lives (usually death), we should learn to show love and support to everyone going through one  phase of this deadly cancer.

Love, care and support is what matters most as humans. Never forget as it is the great form of therapy.

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