Leukemia overview Leukemia is the cancer of the blood cells. People who have leukemia are at an increased risk of obtaining infections, bleeding, and anemia. Leukemia is grouped by the rate at which it develops and the type of blood cells effected. Leukemia starts in the bone marrow and soft tissue inside bones and is a deadly cancer that is more common in older people. How leukemia works Leukemia starts because bone marrow makes white blood cells. When the cells stop obeying their checkpoints during mitosis, the cells become cancerous and spread rapidly often causing tumors. These cells are known as leukemia cells and theses cells don’t die when they should. They overcrowd the area making it hard for normal blood cells to operate. The sooner the leukemia is found, the easier it is to cure. When it is found sooner, it hasn’t spread as far making it less abundant and more treatable. Diagnosis and Prognosis Obviously doctors can’t just look at someone and say if they have leukemia or not. Typically to find out if you do have leukemia a doctor will ask you about your past health, check for swollen lymph nodes, check for an enlarged liver and/or spleen, and take a blood test to see if the patient has an abnormal amount of white blood cells. Prognosis depends upon the patients age, the type of leukemia, and how much/how far it has spread. Treatments Treatment varies depending on multiple factors including type, features of the cells, prior treatment, age of the patient, and the health of the patient. There are four main types of treatments, they are chemotherapy, radiation treatment, stem cell transplant, and biological therapy. First, chemotherapy is the most common and it uses strong medicines to kill the cancerous cells. This is the most common treatment. Second, radiation treatment uses powerful x-rays to fight off cancer cells and decrease the size of lymph nodes, an enlarged spleen, or an enlarged liver. This can also be used as a treatment to precede stem cell transplant. Third, stem-cell transplant is a treatment that helps to increase the number of normal blood cells in your body and help your immune system regain strength. Some other treatment may be given prior to stem-cell transplant such as radiation therapy to kill off the cancerous cells and make room for the normal cells. Fourth, biological therapy is having a patient take medicines that increase the body’s ability to fight cancer. Causes Of the three sources I had, two listed a few causes for leukemia, however the other one claimed that the cause was unknown and no one knows of a way to prevent it. The two that said there were a few causes said that the mains ones are large amount of radiation, exposure to certain chemicals, the patient smokes, they have previously had chemotherapy, and they have down syndrome or some other genetic disorder. Symptoms There is a long list of symptoms for leukemia that I have compiled from my sources. Most if not all of these symptoms are self-explanatory so I will list them all. Easy bruising Swollen/painful belly Weight loss Swollen lymph node in neck, armpit, or groin Night sweats Getting a lot of infections Unexplained fever Loss of energy Headaches Weak Easy bleeding Weight loss Bone and joint pain Hunger loss Work Cited "Disease Information & Support." Leukemia The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Web. 11 Mar. 2012. <http://www.lls.org/diseaseinformation/leukemia/>. "MedicineNet.com." MedicineNet. Web. 11 Mar. 2012. <http://www.medicinenet.com/leukemia/article.htm>. "Leukemia - Symptoms, Types, Causes, Diagnoisis and Treatment Options for Leukemia." WebMD. WebMD, 01 Mar. Web. 11 Mar. 2012. <http://www.webmd.com/cancer/tc/leukemia-topic-overview>.
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