It is usually thought of as a cancerous disease. It has many types, some of them are more common in children and others in adults. It is most commonly found in men than women. Leukemia mostly involved in damaging white blood cells. White blood cells are the most important part of our blood. These are infection fighters in our body. To prevent leukemia one cannot do something. It is the disease of white blood cells which crowd out our red blood cells. It effects our platelets which our body needs to be healthy.
Leukemia symptoms vary from person to person and your environment does matter. Some of the common signs of leukemia are:
- Fever and feeling chill
- Fatigue or weakness
- Weight loss
- Swollen lymph
- Enlarged liver
- Frequent bleeding
- Nose bleeding
- Frequent sweating
- Pain in bones
Many scientists and doctors don’t know the exact cause of leukemia. Most of the people who have leukemia have certain abnormalities like chromosomes defects. We can’t really prevent it from happening. And it might be possible that certain things in our environment could trigger it in our body. For example if a person is a tobacco smoker then there are more chances of having leukemia than a non-smoker. It is also associated with other things like if a person is in high amount of exposure of radiations.
It has been seen that some kinds of chemotherapy and other radiation therapies which are used to treat a cancer can also be the cause of leukemia. The chances of developing leukemia in your body are depend on the drugs used in chemotherapy.
Family history also does matter in the development of leukemia over the period. For example if an identical twin gets certain type of leukemia then there are higher chances that another one will get it within a year or two.
In other words one cannot be sure of the cause of leukemia. In general, it is formed when some white blood cells acquire mutations in their DNA. A chain reaction of cells occur and cause severe damage to our body.
These are some of the risk factors that varies from person to person and some of which maybe in your control.
- People who have a history of chemotherapy and other radiation therapies are more prone to leukemia.
- Genetic abnormalities can be a factor in development of leukemia. Certain genetic anomalies like Down syndrome is associated with the factors which increases the chance of having leukemia.
- Working in chemical industry and with the exposure of certain chemicals like benzene which is the part of gasoline can be a factor for some types of leukemia.
- Tobacco smoking in any form is the major risk factor among all which increases the chances of certain types of leukemia.
- Family history does matter, if a person in your family is diagnosed with leukemia then there is a risk for any of you to be diagnosed with leukemia in future or so.
Leukemia symptoms are vague and are not specific in nature that’s why doctor cannot be sure for sometimes. They apply different therapies and tests on you to be more specific about it. One may overlook the symptoms of leukemia over others like illness, flu and restlessness. It is rare that doctors may find symptoms of leukemia in blood tests. If a person has signs or symptoms mentioned above then he may undergo the following steps.
- At first doctor will apply some physical therapies in order to examine your body so he may discover the symptoms such as anemia, swelling of lymph nodes and enlargement of liver.
- Blood tests are the fundamental part of the diagnosis which scans your body internally and then doctor can determine if you have abnormal number of red and white blood cells. Number of platelets are examined in order to diagnose it.
- At certain point your doctor may suggest you for a bone marrow test from your hipbone in order to detect the symptoms of leukemia. Through a long thin needle sample of your bone marrow collected from the hipbone and then sent it to the laboratory for tests.
Treatments of the leukemia may vary because of the different types of the leukemia. Doctors treat you according to the symptoms and causes. The treatments can be based on your health conditions and age.
The treatments may include:
- Chemotherapy is majorly used in the treatment of leukemia. This procedure uses certain chemicals to fight the leukemia cells. This therapy depends on the type of leukemia you have, doctors may give you a single chemical shot or may give you combination of different chemicals to treat you. The drugs are come in different forms like pills and can be injected in your body through injections.
- Different biological therapies can be applied to your body in order to treat it and to boost your immune system which may help to recognize the parts of body which is infected. It helps to prevent the attack of leukemia.
- In certain conditions or you can say in certain types of leukemia doctors can target the effected body part only in order to cure. In this process the drugs attack certain vulnerabilities within your cancerous cells. For example a drug called imatinib (Gleevec) is used to prevent the protein growth in your leukemia cells. This type of treatment is applied to the people with myelogenous leukemia.
- Bone marrow transplant replaces the marrow with a healthy bone marrow can be a treatment which prevents the spread of bad cells in your body. This procedure is called stem cell transplant. In this treatment you may receive the cells from a donor. Before the procedure you are treated with high dose of chemotherapy.
- In radiation therapy x-rays of other high beam rays are used to prevent the growth of leukemia cells. In this procedure you have to lay down on a big table. Then a big machine scans your whole body and then the targeted area of your body is beamed up. It is a precise procedure.