Leukemia is a type of cancer that starts in the bone marrow and the lymph system, both of which are very essential in the production and distribution of blood. Leukemia triggers the excessive production of immature and abnormal white blood cells called leukocytes. The excessive amount of white blood cells is not good for the body since the production of normal cells are decreased, which loosens the chances of the immune system to fight infections.
Types of Leukemia
In leukemia, the production and accumulation of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, platelets and normal leukocytes are overcome by the abnormal amount of leukemic cells. If leukemia is left untreated, what will happen is that the surplus of leukemic cells overpowers the bone marrow and enters the bloodstream. Eventually, these leukemic cells will invade the other parts of the body like the spleen, lymph nodes, liver, brain, and the spinal cord. The four major kinds of leukemia are chronic, acute, lymphocytic, and myelegenous. The difference between acute chronic leukemia is that the former progress faster than the latter. The bad thing about this is that most cases of leukemia are acute leukemias.
Causes of Leukemia
The cause of most cases of leukemia is unknown. However, doctors and researchers are all trying hard and working to determine the actual reason for this deadly illness. There is an agreement, though, that males are more prone to leukemia than females. Additionally, research all say that white people are more prone to this than black people.
There are many symptoms that are associated with leukemia; however, not all of these symptoms occur in all of the people. Most often than not, different people will have more severe symptoms than the others. Some of these evident symptoms are: fever of unknown origin, weakness and chronic fatigue, unexplainable weight loss that is not a result of exercise and dieting, frequent viral and bacterial infections, skin rash, headaches, non-specific bone pain, enlarged nymph nodes and/or spleen, blood found in urine or stools, and abdominal fullness. Doctors are able to determine the presence of leukemic cells through a series of blood tests and examinations of the bone marrow.
Because of the severity of this cancer, people are adamant to know if it can be prevented through changes in lifestyle or diet. This is because changes in the diet can actually prevent most cases of cancers. Unfortunately, there are no known risk factors associated with leukemia. Because of this, it becomes difficult to prevent them.
Fortunately for many people, leukemia is not totally an untreatable disease. With the innovations in technology, people who acquire leukemia may have a great chance of surviving the disease. The two phases of treatment associated with leukemia are induction therapy and continuation/maintenance therapy. In induction therapy, the goal of the treatment is to reduce the total number of the leukemic cells and eventually induce remission. Remission is the time wherein the cancer is still responding to treatment and is still under control. When cancer is under complete remission, all of the signs and symptoms disappear.