What You Really Need to Know about Cancer

Monday, August 18, 2014

Leukemia: Also known as blood cancer

Leukemia is a malignant carcinoma of the hematopoietic stem cells characterized by diffuse replacement of the bone marrow by malignant cells, which usually spread into the blood stream in large number. The infiltration of the malignant cells into liver, spleen, lymph nodes, and other tissues are commonly seen.

Leukemia signs and symptoms

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Bleeding
  • Bone pain
  • Other minor infections

Leukemia classifications

Classification based on rate of progress

Acute leukemia: tends to affect younger adults, sudden onset, signs and symptoms develops very rapidly and if not treated on time it can be life threatening.
Chronic leukemia: Usually affects elderly people and signs and symptoms develops gradually and take years and survive for longer time

Leukemia is usually classified based on the cell type involved and degree of maturity and differentiation of the concerned leukemic cells. Usually acute leukemia is characterized by the presentation of poorly differentiated cells and is caused very frequently as mentioned above.
French – American – British Cooperative Group (FAB) has classified leukemia into 4 major groups based on cell types, and this classification is accepted universally.

Classification of leukemia based on cell types

  • Acute myelocytic leukemia (AML)
  • Chronic myelocytic leukemia
  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Hairy cell leukemia

Leukemia causes

So far there are several possible causes of leukemia identified
  • Down’s syndrome
  • Bloom’s syndrome
  • Klinefelter’s syndrome
  • Wiskott Aldrich’s syndrome
  • Fanconi’s Anemia
  • Ataxia Telengiectasia
  • Radiation: increase the risk of developing leukemia and have
  • Infection: certain viruses have linked to some form of leukemia
  • Drugs: exposure to anticancerous drugs increase the risk of developing leukemia

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