The blood in the body is categorized into 3 types, that is, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The blood is produced by the stem cells or the bone marrow. Leukemia is a blood cancer, generally referred to as the cancer of the white blood cells. WBCs are essential role players in restricting the entry of bacteria, viruses, fungi, abnormal cells, and foreign substances.
In this white blood cells can divide abnormally and overcrowd other cells. Most WBCs are produced in the white blood cells but certain types are made in lymph nodes, the spleen, and the thymus gland.
Leukemia signs and symptoms
There are several symptoms that a person suffering from leukemia can experience.
- Excessive sweats at night
- Weakness and fatigue that remains even after taking proper rest.
- Weight loss without intention
- Swollen lymph nodes in the armpits or neck.
- Enlargement of liver and spleen
- Pain in bones and tenderness
- Red spots on the skin
- Easy bruising and bleeding
- Chills and fevers
- Constant infections
Leukemia can cause symptoms in organs that have been affected by the cancer cells. The spread of cancer, however, depends on the type of cancer and its aggressiveness. Leukemia can spread to some other parts of the lungs, testicles, gastrointestinal tract, heart, and kidneys.
Treatment of Leukemia
The person who treats leukemia is either a hematologist – an oncologist. The treatment depends on various factors including the overall health of the patient, cancer type, and stage. Some kinds of leukemia develop slowly and may not require immediate treatment. However, it may include a few of the following treatments.
Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that kills rapidly growing cells with the help of powerful chemicals. The drug could be singular or in combination. Cell Engineering Therapy- Cell Engineering Therapy is the newest way found to save lives by scientists when all hopes seemed to fail. Cell engineering therapy uses edited T-Cells, which are pre-manufactured cells that are received from a healthy volunteer.
These cells were edited using new technology to allow them to find and kill cancerous T-cells without attacking each other. T-cells are white blood cells that move around in the body to find and kill defective cells.
Radiation therapy uses radiation to kill leukemia cells and restrict their growth. Radiation can be given to a specific area or your entire body.
3.Bone Marrow Transplantation
In this, diseased bone marrow is replaced with healthier bone marrow, either with your own or with your owner. This procedure is also known as a stem cell transplant.
4.Biological/ Immune Therapy
It uses therapy that helps the immune system identify and attack cancer cells.
Targeted therapy uses medications to damage cancer cells by taking advantage of their vulnerabilities.
Leukemia can be acute or chronic meaning in acute leukemia, the cells can multiply fastly and in chronic leukemia, the cells grow slowly with mild symptoms. Leukemia can be distinguished according to the type of cells that are affected by it. Myeloid cells are immature blood cells that become monocytes. Below are the major types of leukemia.
Acute Myeloid Leukemia-
Acute Myeloid leukemia can occur in both children and adults and is the most common form of leukemia. 29.5 percent is the five-year survival rate.
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia-
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a common sort of cancer in children and occurs when a bone marrow develops an error in its DNA.
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia-
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia majorly affects adults and is caused by a chromosome mutation that occurs without any indication.
Chronic Lymphoblastic Leukemia-
It develops from a kind of white blood cell called B cells. It progresses slowly and affects older adults.
The causes of leukemia
It is not commonly known by doctors however, certain risk factors can develop this cancer including
- Previous chemotherapy radiation or other types of cancer
- Genetic disorders
- Other kinds of blood cancers
- Constant exposure to the chemical benzene that is found in cigarettes.
The doctor will perform complete physical exams and take previous health history into consideration. Apart from this, the doctors will make diagnoses using blood tests, biopsies, and imaging tests. There are a number of tests including the complete blood cells test that the doctor might suggest.
Cancer is a disturbing disease and can create a lot of hardships for the person both physically and mentally. Understanding this profoundly, Bansal Hospital Bhopal’s onco surgery department focuses majorly on the prevention and treatment of cancerous diseases such as leukemia and the doctors ensure proper support and therapies that are provided to the patients.
The new therapy of cell engineering has proven to be a life-saving therapy in the most complicated cases. Although not much can be promised in such a profession yet transforming and life-saving therapies and technologies are being developed that can prove to be fruitful for some if not all.