Leukemia

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells and the body’s blood forming tissues which may include the bone marrow and the lymphatic system. In Leukemia, the bone marrow makes a lot of abnormal white blood cells known as Leukemia cells which abnormally grow at a faster pace, but do not function like the normal white blood cells.

The Pathway and Symptoms

When leukemia cells crowds the bone marrow tissues, red blood cells decrease in production and may lead to causing anemia, bleeding and infections. Leukemia cells may concentrate in lymph nodes and the spleen which may cause pain and swelling. Acute Leukemia often gets worse fast and manifests symptoms quickly, while Chronic Leukemia develops slowly which may take years to manifest. Lymphocytic or Lymphoblastic Leukemia affects the lymphocytes, while Myelogenous Leukemia affects the myelocytes.

Treatment Options

Treatment options in Leukemia are primarily dependent on the type and stage of the disease. All of which may be reviewed during a Q and A session with your doctor. The following treatment options may include, but not be limited to:

Chemotherapy – Oncologists consider chemotherapy as the major form of treatment in leukemia. Chemotherapy is essentially a drug treatment that directly kills cancer cells given either orally or intravenously.

Targeted Therapy – This makes use of drugs that target specific vulnerabilities of cancer cells.

Radiation Therapy – This make use of X-ray and high energy beams to damage Leukemia cells by directing the beam to precise points in the body.

Stem Cell Transplant – This is a procedure to replace the diseased bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells which is infused in the blood stream from the individual or from a donor.

Outcome

The treatment outcomes for people with leukemia are generally very good. Advancements in treatment modalities have increased the survival rate dramatically. Adults are known to have an average of 67.8% survival rating, while children under 5 have a 92% survival rating within the 5 years after treatment.

It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.