Understanding Chronic Leukemia

Leukemia is a disease of the blood and bone marrow that occurs on the background of genetic predispositions to cancer. Leukemia affects the cellular process of maturation, causing the accumulation of immature blood cells in the spinal marrow and bloodstream. In some cases leukemia causes the incomplete cells to multiply very quickly, while in other cases the abnormal blood cells have prolonged periods of life and persist in different places inside the body. Incomplete blood cells can’t substitute for normal blood cells, as they can’t carry out their roles. The cells affected by leukemia are therefore incompatible with the organism and can cause serious damage.

Judging by the speed of development and the persistence of the disorder, there are two types of leukemia: acute leukemia and chronic leukemia. Judging by the types of stem cells affected by the disorder, leukemia can either be lymphocytic or myelogenous.

Acute leukemia is different from chronic leukemia by the levels that stem cells are able to reach in their development (stem cells that present anomalies still manage to partially develop and either resemble immature cells or complete, normal white blood cells).

Acute leukemia is a form of cancer that develops very rapidly. It is manifested through overpopulation of the blood with immature cells that are unable to fulfill the functions of normal blood cells. In the case of acute leukemia, the marrow is unable to produce normal quantities of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Patients who suffer from leukemia also develop anemia, a deficiency of normal red blood cells. Also, a decreased number of white blood cells reduces the body’s ability of overcoming infections, while the lack of platelets facilitates inflammation and bleeding.

Chronic leukemia tends to develop slower than acute leukemia. In the case of chronic leukemia, the body is able to produce blood cells that are more mature than those produced in acute leukemia. Although these cells may appear incomplete, they can’t fulfill their roles inside the organism and tend to cluster at different levels of the body. They also have a longer period of life.

Chronic leukemia of lymphocytic form is known to affect a type of blood cell called B lymphocyte. The disease weakens the immune system, interferes in the normal activity of the spinal marrow and facilitates the access of harmful cells to body organs. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia first occurs at the levels of the bone marrow, but can quickly spread to different organs and tissue through the bloodstream.

The presence of chronic lymphocytic leukemia is usually revealed by blood tests and careful body examination. Although apparently some people may have no symptoms of the disease, other patients may experience fatigue, lack of concentration, poor balance, memory loss, deterioration of vision and hearing, vertigos, body weakness, joint and bone pains. Just like in other forms of the disease, chronic leukemia requires immediate specific treatment and therapy. The chances of fully overcoming the disease are considerably enhanced if it is discovered quickly.

What is Leukemia

Today, one of the most dangerous and incurable condition seems to be cancer. It has no actual cure for mostly of the tissues it affects, especially when it reaches vital organs such as heart, lungs or blood. The blood tissue form of cancer is known as Leukemia and it represents a real life threat as it affects the blood circulation meant to supply the whole body with vital nutriments.

Blood is the connection tissue for all of the body’s organs and tissue as it carries oxygen and other important elements for the cell life. This is the reason why leukemia is such dangerous and frightening disease. Blood has access to all vital organs like heart, lungs and brain and when Leukemia occurs, it will rapidly create a dysfunction of all the other organs by supplying them with unhealthy particles. Cancerous cells are quickly carried to all parts of the organism and the dissemination occurs in a very short period of time.

Leukemia is in fact the consequence of an abnormality occurred in the form and number of leukocytes, the blood white cells. Leucocytes are vital for the good functioning of the body as they have the role to fight against all potential aggressions from the outside. They are the key to a good protection against infections and when leukemia appears the cellular immunity decreases drastically leaving the body unable to protect against damaging factors of any nature.

The main pathological way of the disease is an increased production by the marrow of infected and abnormal white blood cells. The new leucocytes anatomically and functionally modified and interfere with all functions of the blood even hindering the normal oxygen transport. Modified white blood cells also damage the normal functioning of the red blood cells and lead to the occurrence of anemia. Cancerous cells impede the tissue supply with hemoglobin and the body cells suffer from the lack of iron.

When the cancerous cells reach the brain, other dangerous modifications appear such as headaches, night sweats and neuropsychical problems. Cancerous Leukemia cells can be easily detected under the microscope and the suspects of the disease are advised to undergo a bone marrow examination. The onset of Leukemia is pointed out by swollen lymph nodes through the whole body, especially around the neck and thigh.

Risk factors for Leukemia are especially radioactive radiations that produce cell mutations and damages to their activity. An overexposure to benzene, an industrial hydrocarbure, also increases the risk of developing Leukemia, as well as the Down syndrome.

The most effective but also painful treatment is chemotherapy when the patients need to swallow many drugs at once. Another possibility of treatment is radiotherapy and patients suffer from losing hair and skin texture.

Leukemia is curable if detected in time and treated right. A bone marrow transplant may be helpful to regain healthy white blood cells. For a good outcome, the patients especially need the support of the family.

Detecting Leukemia in Your Child

Speaking of cancer it is human silent killer. It will attack uncontrollably if its number (cell) multiplies rapidly.

Once they form massively it gives negative effect on usual operation of the adjoining tissue. At this point of time there must be action on treating this problem. If this would not be treated well cancer cell would pass-through bloodstream reaching some body parts. This is what we call metastasis which is already very hard to control or to be cured.

We all have cancer cells scattered all over our body parts and no one spared of that silent killer. Young and old people can have it especially if our body immune system got weakens that could lower our resistance. Cancer problem on young generation are far more different than on older generations. The same medical procedures in fighting for it but different form when you look at it under the microscope. The chances are, younger generation responded better than the older one in terms of treatment.

Childhood and Adult Patients

Cancer is common on older people compared to younger people. Most likely mortality rate is higher on older people against younger ones. If we rate the chances of survival, 70% for the younger people and 30% for the elders. Sometimes it would goes up to 90% depends then on different types of cancer.

Reasons of Having Childhood Cancer

Cancer is not transmissible unlike AIDS. Disturbance to a cell’s genes is one reason of cancer development.

On older people, one factor that contributed cancer is unhealthy lifestyle coming from different vices, carcinogen intake, too much sun exposure and a lot more. The reason of having childhood cancer is not yet known. There must be some reasons for this kind of cancer on our young generations but scientist never discovered yet what the cause is really.

Different types of Childhood Cancer

Leukemia: most common type of cancer on younger generation. There are more white blood cells than normal blood cells. These abnormal cell or leukemia developed earlier before reaching into maturity.

Different kinds of Leukemia

• Acute Lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL): The most common type victimizing usually children/young people. It would strike on bone morrow – which is our blood manufacturer. One common treatment is by Chemotherapy -a kind of drug that kills cancer cells. Another one is by radiotherapy – a high energy wave, like an x-ray. Survival rate of this kind of medication is greater than 70%.

• Acute myeloid leukemia (AML): Is less most common on younger generations though it can also be treated with chemotherapy and stem cell replacement. Chance of surviving is between 50% and 60%.

• Brain Tumors and Spinal Cord Tumors: This kind is second most common type of leukemia on affecting our younger children. In most cases casualty is greater than surviving from any form of medications because this is very hard to manage and be cured. It needs surgery as the first line of treatment and it depends on where the part of the central nervous system brains tumor grown-up. A series of chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions could inevitable happen as a sort of follow-up medications. There are few who would survive depending on the status of the tumor (stages 1, 2, 3,) and the type of tumor.

Dangers of Leukemia and Other Forms of Blood Cancers

People suffering from leukemia suffer from one of the deadliest types of blood cancers. It is specifically, a form of cancer of the white blood cells.

In modern-day practice, leukemia can also refer to malignancy in the blood or any cellular element in the bone marrow, wherein, the white blood cells multiply uncontrollably. This results to more white blood cells in the bloodstream. This type of blood cancer usually occurs in children with ages between 3 to 7 years while in adults, it occurs between ages 50 to 60 years old.

The specific cause of leukemia is unknown but inheritance plays a big role in becoming susceptible to this condition. People with leukemia experience bone pain, easy bleeding, pale skin and fatigue as well as abdominal pain, easy bruising and lymph gland swelling. Treatment of leukemia includes radiation therapy, chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant.

Since blood cancers obviously involve the blood, it is more deadly and most dreaded. The infected blood can imminently spread to other parts of the body through the blood stream. Leukemia starts in the bone marrow – the spongy, soft material inside the bones where blood cells are produced from stem cells. As mentioned above, leukemia mostly affects the white blood cells which protect the body against infection. Then, cancer commences when abnormal white blood cells are created as a result when the development of stem cells into white blood cells goes uncontrollably wrong. With blood cancers, the abnormal white cells take over other types of blood cells, including the red blood cells (the ones that transport oxygen to the body tissues) and the platelets which make blood clotting possible. Therefore, leukemia is the intervention of the blood’s ability in carrying oxygen and in clotting.

Without the presence of leukemia, the white blood cells can readily function in fighting disease-producing germs or pathogens. However, when it becomes dysfunctional, it can weaken the patient’s immune system. The body won’t be able to fight even the simplest of infections. Pathogens can start attacking various other bodily cells. Since blood cancers destroy the immune system’s normal function, some patients can experience frequent infections ranging from infected tonsils, diarrhea or sores in the mouth to opportunistic infections and life-threatening pneumonia.

Studies are still ongoing as to determine the exact causes of leukemia. Medical experts think that exposure to ionizing radiations and hazardous chemicals can trigger the development of these blood cancers. Irrespective of the age, survival rate is very low. This enlists leukemia as one of the most fatal of all cancers.

Leukemia patients have a 43% survival rate of 5 years. It is also noted that leukemia is hereditary or it can be traced to the family’s history. However, this should not hinder you from living a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and nutritious diet to prevent it. Diet should contain vegetable juices, lots of water, unrefined sea salt and foods that can heal like Aloe Vera, lemon, olive oil, green tea, tomato and more. For some people, fish, oranges and bananas can also help prevent blood cancers.

Leukemia

All of the different “types” of cancer can be deadly, that’s a given. Even though survival rates tend to be much higher nowadays than they were perhaps twenty years ago, the fact is that a diagnosis of cancer can still be a death sentence and this is especially so when it affects the most vital components of the body.

One such type of cancer that falls into this category is cancer of the blood, more commonly known as leukemia. Many people may not think of it this way, but, in simple terms, blood is the most important tissue of the body.

It is effectively the conduit that connects all the other organs and tissues of the body together, carrying and supplying oxygen and other vital elements to even the remotest parts of the body. Bloods importance to the body cannot be over estimated.

So, the most dangerous feature of leukemia is that is attacks the blood which then has access to all of the bodies other organs, including the all brain, heart, kidneys and liver. Thus, the cancerous cells are spread throughout the body by the very blood that is normally the key to good health, in a leukemia sufferer.

To take this analogy one stage further, blood cancer specifically targets the leukocytes or the “white blood corpuscles” of the blood, which are the very ones that usually protect the body from external infections. Thus, the body’s immunity from, or resistance to, external infections is dramatically reduced in a leukemia sufferer. Such blood cancer causes the body to produce infected and abnormal cells that hinder the function of blood (i.e. the transport of oxygen around the body) rather than helping it.

It is common for a leukemia sufferer to become anemic, and to lose weight, because the cancerous cells are unable to adequately the hemoglobin, the body’s chief source of iron.

As a consequence, the blood cancer patient tends to lose all vitality and energy, and becomes especially vulnerable, because the infected blood tends to cause the brain to start to malfunction to some extent.

Exposure to raised levels of radiation is a prime proven cause of leukemia. Likewise, children born with Downs Syndrome have a raised probability of suffering blood cancer, and benzene (an industrial hydro-carbon) is also cited as a cause.

However, the slightly better news is that the abnormal cells are easily detected under the microscope, and a timely bone marrow examination should confirm these microscopic tests.

Chemotherapy, whilst it can be extremely painful, is nevertheless still the most effective method of killing the cancerous cells, although any patient undergoing such treatment should be prepared to have to ingest an unholy alliance of chemicals that he (or she) needs to take.

Similarly, radiotherapy can be effective also, with various unpleasant side effects, such as hair loss and poor skin quality whilst undergoing treatment.

Although it is undoubtedly one of the most deadly forms of cancer, leukemia is nevertheless treatable and indeed curable, and extensive research into more effective treatment is a constantly ongoing fact.

Methods like a bone marrow transplant, which may be required at a later stage, are also effective in treating the patient.

Statistic Information on Leukemia

Leukemia is a cancerous disease caused by abnormal activity of stem cells (immature cells that originate in the bone marrow). There are two main types of leukemia – myelogenous and lymphocytic (according to the type of cells involved), which can be further classified in two categories – acute and chronic.

Acute leukemia is characterized by the rapid multiplication of partially developed, functionless cells. These abnormal cells accumulate inside the bone marrow or in the blood stream, interfering with the activity of normal, healthy cells. People with acute leukemia also suffer from anemia, which is caused by a pronounced decrease in the number of red blood cells. Leukemia sufferers also have a deficit of healthy white cells, which have a vital role in fighting against infections. In addition, acute leukemia affects the body’s production of platelets, which have an important role in blood coagulation (they speed up the healing of open wounds).

Chronic leukemia also causes serious impairments at cellular level, triggering an overproduction of abnormal cells. However, unlike acute leukemia, chronic forms of the disease allow the affected cells to reach more advanced stages of development. Thus, chronic leukemia has a slower rate of progression.

The annual prevalence of leukemia among the population of the United States is around 31.000 new cases. Leukemia has the highest incidence in older adults, commonly affecting people with ages over 60. However, there are certain types of leukemia that predominantly affect children. For instance, acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is responsible for causing more than 80 percent of overall childhood leukemia cases.

In adults, the most common types of leukemia are acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Acute myelogenous leukemia accounts for more than 10.000 new cases each year, while chronic lymphocytic leukemia is responsible for causing around 8.000 new annual cases.

Leukemia has the highest incidence in the male gender. Statistics indicate that more than 56 percent of annual leukemia cases are diagnosed in men. Although it can be seen in all ethnical groups, leukemia predominantly affects Caucasian white people. The annual incidence of leukemia is lower in African Americans, while American Indians and Hispanics rarely develop the disease. Similarly, leukemia is rarely seen in Asian people.

The most common type of leukemia among children aged 3-15 is acute lymphocytic leukemia. Due to the fact that acute lymphocytic leukemia predominantly affects children, it is referred to as childhood leukemia. Childhood leukemia rarely affects children younger than 3 or with ages over 15. Despite the fact that modern medicine doesn’t hold the cure for childhood leukemia, the medical treatments and therapies available nowadays can slow down the progression of the disease and in some cases, they can even overcome leukemia completely. The annual morbidity rate of leukemia among young patients has known a considerable decrease in the last two decades. Thanks to modern medical equipment, leukemia can be timely diagnosed, allowing prompt medical intervention. Nowadays, early diagnosis and new approaches in medical treatment can considerably extend patients’ life-expectancy, thus increasing the chances of complete recovery.