Leukemia damages the tissues that make up the blood and progresses rapidly if not diagnosed and treated in time. How familiar are you with leukemia, its diagnosis, and treatment?
Leukemia is a progressive and malignant disease of the hematopoietic organs in the body, and the leading cause of leukemia is unknown. Still, scientists and doctors believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors plays a role in developing this disease.
Most leukemias originate in the bone marrow, where blood is produced. This disease occurs when blood cells’ abnormal activity gets out of control and disrupts cells’ normal function that fights various infections and diseases. The disease affects the activity of the blood, bone marrow, or lymphatic system of the body.
Types of leukemia
There are three main types of the disease: leukemia, myeloma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which we will define in the following article:
It is a type of leukemia that originates in the brain and bones, and in this disease, the body begins to overproduce white blood cells and disrupts the bone marrow function to produce red blood cells and platelets.
Myeloma, plasma cell leukemia
Myeloma is a cancer of the blood plasma cells. Plasma cells are a group of white blood cells whose job is to secrete antibodies, and as a result of the cancer of these cells, large amounts of abnormal antibodies are produced in the body. Myeloma cells block the production of antibodies by healthy cells and increased levels of abnormal antibodies in the body cause damage to the kidneys and bones. An increase in myeloma cells also causes problems in the production of white and red cells.
Signs and symptoms of myeloma:
- Hypercalcemia (high calcium in the blood)
- Anemia (red blood cell deficiency or decreased function)
- Kidney failure
- Vulnerability to infection
- Osteoporosis, bone pain, inflammation, or fracture of the bone
- High protein in the blood or urine
- Weight Loss
This is another type of leukemia that originates in the body’s lymphatic system, in which lymphocytes are made into a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight infections. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is diagnosed when an abnormal lymphocyte called a Reed-Sternberg develops.
Signs and symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s cancer:
The most common symptom of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is painless swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, groin, or armpits. Other symptoms are as follows.
- Fever for which no cause is found
- Night sweats
- Persistent fatigue
- Weight loss without justification
- skin itching
- Red spots on the skin
Observing these symptoms can not prove non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma’s presence because these symptoms are also seen in more benign diseases such as influenza or other infections. The early stages of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are painless, and you should see a doctor because early diagnosis and treatment are essential.
Causes of leukemia:
Although there is no specific cause for this disease, various factors play a role in the occurrence of this disease, which are:
- Years of corrosion
- Family history and genetics
- Weak immune system
- Specific infections
Common symptoms in all types of leukemia
- Shortness of breath
- Bone fractures under the slightest pressure
- Bruising of the skin
- Increase abdominal volume
- Persistent fatigue and weakness
- Loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting
- Excess weight loss
- Night sweats
- Pain in the bones, joints, and back
- Abnormal bleeding of the nose and gums
- stomach ache
- Headache with vision problems
- Recurrent infections
- Itchy skin or the appearance of pimples
- Swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin
- Problem urinating
- Illusion and confusion
Leukemia treatment methods:
The main goal of leukemia treatment is to completely eradicate the disease, which depends on the type of cancer, age, the amount of cancer in the area, and other factors.
Some common treatments for leukemia include:
Stem cell transplantation:
In this procedure, hematopoietic stem cells are transferred to the patient’s body through a bone marrow transplant or umbilical cord. This is usually done to replace damaged cells with healthy bone marrow cells. There are several treatments for benign and malignant cancers. Experienced doctors and specialists perform this treatment.
In this treatment, anti-cancer drugs are used to interfere and prevent cancer cells’ growth in the body. Chemotherapy for leukemia sometimes involves administering several drugs on a specific diet, which may also be done before a stem cell transplant.
Radiation therapy is used to kill cancer cells or relieve pain or discomfort caused by the disease and be given to the patient before a stem cell transplant.
Cause of malignant leukemia cancer
Like any cancer, it is a predisposing factor for leukemia and disrupts cell division.
Genetics and Down Syndrome
Genetic abnormalities play an important role in causing this disease in the body. Down syndrome and some other inherited diseases increase the risk of acute leukemia.
Exposure to ionizing radiation and some chemicals
People who are exposed to too much radiation are much more likely to develop leukemia. Exposure to certain chemicals, such as benzene, can also increase the risk of leukemia.
Lack of natural immune system
Readiness for leukemia is directly related to aging. People over the age of 55 should be more aware of the warning signs of the disease. Leukemia most often occurs in children between the ages of three and four.
Steps to diagnose leukemia
About 25% of leukemias are diagnosed before symptoms with routine clinical examination and simple blood tests.
You may need to do one or more tests:
Counting the number of white blood cells or platelets
Identify the physical and physical symptoms of leukemia, such as paleness caused by anemia and inflammation of the lymph nodes, liver, or spleen.
Bone marrow sample test
More tests are needed to confirm leukemia diagnosis and determine the type and extent of its progression in the body.
This test looks for changes in chromosomes, including the presence of the Philadelphia chromosome.
Some common questions
To what extent does age affect the incidence of leukemia?
As we age, mutations in the process of bone marrow cells usually occur. Therefore, many leukemia patients include the elderly.
How does family history cause leukemia?
Although the disease affects a person’s DNA, in most cases, the disease’s onset was not due to family history. Studies show that family history increases the risk of developing the disease. It is unknown whether the leukemia is due to a genetic defect in one parent or the other.
Does radiation therapy cause leukemia in a person?
There is evidence that environmental factors, such as exposure to chemicals, increase the risk of certain types of leukemia, but overexposure to these agents can cause disease.
Can something be done to prevent or reduce the risk of leukemia?
Unlike some other cancers, following a healthy lifestyle, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising, has little effect on your risk of leukemia, but having a balanced diet and physical activity can increase cancer risk. Reduce a wide range of diseases.
How does leukemia affect the immune and lymphatic systems?
If the blood cells that fight infection become cancerous, they will not be able to do their job well, and it will be harder for the body to fight infections and pathogens.
Certain treatment types, such as chemotherapy, expose the body to infection because it kills healthy blood cells, meaning that some people with leukemia have many infections. In such cases, your medical team is looking for ways to reduce infection risk in your body.