Leukemia – Cancer of the Blood

Leukemia is cancer of the blood cells. In leukemia, the bone marrow starts to make a lot of abnormal white blood cells (leukemia cells). These abnormal cells out number the healthy cells gradually leading to anaemia, bleeding and infection. The exact cause of leukemia is unknown but risk factors have been identified. leukemia is grouped into how quickly the disease spreads (acute or chronic) and which blood cells are affected ((lymphocytes or myelocytes).


Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).
It mainly affect adults. It affects the myleoid cells and usually grow slowly at first. It has little or no symptoms in the initial stages. It is usually diagnosed in the chronic stage when treatment is very effective for most people.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
This kind almost never affects children. It is found in people over 55 years. It affects the lymphoid cells and grows slowly. It is the most common chronic adult form of leukemia. You may feel well for years and not need any treatment.

Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
Most common types of leukemia in children even though adults may get it. It affects lymphoid cells and grows very quickly

Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
It is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults. It affects children too. It grows rapidly and affects the myleoid cells.

There are also rare types of leukemia like hairy cell leukemia


This increases your risk of AML.

Past chemotherapy or radiation for another cancer makes you a high risk candidate of this cancer.

Exposure to high levels of radiations.
Exposure to these high levels of radiation greatly increases your chance of getting the disease. eg nuclear bomb accidents increases these high level radiations.

Family history.
If members of your family have been diagnosed with leukemia, you have a high risk of getting it too.

Exposure to chemicals
Exposure to chemicals like benzene can cause AML. Benzene is widely used in the chemical industry and found in gasoline and cigarette smoke.

Genetic disorders .
Genetic or inherited disorders such as down syndrome increases your risk.

Blood disorders Myelodysplastic syndrome and certain other blood disorders increases your risk of AML.

Human T-cell leukemia virus type I (HTLV-I): increases your risk of rare type of leukemia called adult T-cell leukemia.


Treatment is based on a lot of factors like type of leukemia, overall health and age.

This is the major form of treatment for leukemia. The drugs are used to kill the cancer cells. You may have a pill or injection into your vein depending on the type of leukemia you have.

Radiation Therapy
X-rays or other high-energy beams are used to damage leukemia cells and stop their growth.

Stem cells transplant
The aim of this type of procedure is to destroy the cells in your bone marrow including leukemia cell and replace them with normal healthy cell. .


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