Leukemia is usually known as blood cancer. In which blood-forming cells, bone marrow cells, or the cells of lymphatic systems start growing abnormally. Types of leukemia depend upon the kind of cells involved. Some cancers are specific for children and some occur in adults.
TYPES OF LEUKEMIA:
Following are the types of leukemia.
- Acute lymphoblastic/Lymphocytic leukemia (ALL): This type involves abnormal production of lymphocytes. This type of cancer occurs in younger children mostly. This is the most aggressive form of blood cancer, suddenly diagnosed within a few days after symptoms.
This type is further divided into the following subtypes:
- B-Cell ALL: Cancer of B-lymphocyte is called B-cell ALL. (B-cells are responsible for the production of antibodies).
- T-Cell ALL: Cancer of T Cells is called T-cell ALL (T-cells directly engulf pathogens and regulate the immune system.
- Chronic lymphoblastic/Lymphocytic leukemia (CLL): This type also involves lymphocytes but slowly growing over time. It takes months or years to show symptoms.
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML): This type of blood cancer grows aggressively and fast. However, occurs in older people. However, some evidence in children involves myoblasts which are responsible for the production of red blood cells and platelets.
- Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML): This involves specific myeloid cells called monocytes, which are present in the bone marrow. The abnormal production of these cells is called chronic myeloid leukemia. This is chronic because it grows slowly in the bone marrow and comes to the bloodstream slowly over time. It can convert into fast-growing cancer in later stages. Some cells can deposit in other parts of the body like the spleen.
Signs and symptoms of leukemia.
Following are the common signs and symptoms of leukemia.
- Fever (a sign of infection)
- unexplained Weight lose
- Bleeding (easily bruising and pastiche)
- Decrease the number of hemoglobin, platelets, and white blood cells
- Sore throat
- Sweating and chills
- Gum bleed
- Flu-like symptoms
- Abdominal distention or hard abdomen
- Black stools(a sign of internal bleeding)
Diagnostic tests to diagnose leukemia
Following are the tests to diagnose
- Complete blood count: This test gives an idea regarding blood cancer however, In total blood count following result gives a general picture i.e. Markedly increase in white blood cells, in a regular CBC report white count is 4000-11000, but in a patient with leukemia white blood cells range from 100000 -400000 decreased platelet counts, and a decrease in hemoglobin level.
- Peripheral Smear: Peripheral smear contains blast cells shown in %.eg 90%, 80%, etc.
- Bone Marrow Biopsy: Furthermore, this test is carried out to rule out the type of leukemia. Moreover, a biopsy reveals the exact type of cells involved, and on the basis of the type of cancer, your oncologist suggests/decides the kind of treatment. Bone marrow biopsy is the standard gold test to diagnose leukemia
Causes and Risk Factors of Leukemia
The exact cause of leukemia /blood cancer is unknown but some risk factors could be the leading cause of blood cancer.
- Genetic cause. Some types of blood cancer run in families, called familial cancer, which means transfers from parents to children.
- Exposure to Radiation: Moreover, unnecessary exposure to radiation can cause blood cancer
- Exposure to cytotoxic medications: Medications like chemotherapy can cause blood cancer. Mishandling of chemotherapeutic drugs by healthcare providers could be a causative factor that could lead to cancer.
- Exposure/come in contact with nuclear medication, and pesticides.
Treatment of leukemia:
As soon as leukemia is confirmed. Do not get delayed in getting treatment.
Chemotherapy: However, chemotherapeutic drugs are the first treatment of choice for it. Moreover, treatment regimens are different for every type. Chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells. The stages of treatment are induction, consolidation, and maintenance therapy, depending upon the patient’s response to cancer.
Radiation therapy: However, in some chemotherapy regimens radiation therapy is also administered for better results and remission.
However, Leukemia is monitored through bone marrow biopsy and complete blood count testing.
Bone Marrow Transplant:
Moreover, The second choice of treatment is a stem cell or bone marrow transplant which could be fully matched allogeneic from a matched sibling or matched unrelated donor or haploidentical. Moreover, before transplant cancer cells or leukemic cells are finished or killed by high-dose chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and then new bone marrow is infused to establish a leukemia-free bone marrow to regenerate new healthy cells.
CAR-T is a new form of treatment for leukemia. The T cells (the infection-fighting cells) are separated from the blood, engineered, and re-infused into the patient’s body to fight cancer.CAR-T is the latest treatment for it. However, highly expensive and not available in many developing countries.