Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia By: Will Thrasher Leukemia is a cancer that starts in blood; forming tissue such as the bone marrow and causes large numbers of blood cells to produce and enter the bloodstream. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia is one of the four common types of leukemia. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia or (ALL) affects lymphoid cells and grows quickly. This horrible cancer accounts for more than 5,000 new cases of leukemia each year. ALL is the most common type of leukemia in young children, and also affects adults. In 2012, an estimated 5,730 men and women will be diagnosed with ALL and 1,420 men and women will die. (“National…”) Causes There are only a few know risk factors for ALL. Some of the causes are due to exposure to high levels of radiation. A good example of this would be the Japanese atomic bomb survivors; the survivors had an increased risk of developing acute leukemia, usually within 6 to 8 years after exposure. ALL is also linked behind excessive exposure to the chemical Benzene, which is basically a chemical that is found in everyday items like glue, cleaning products, detergents, art supplies and certain chemical industries. ALL is most commonly found in whites then African Americans, and is more commonly found in females. (“The…”) Symptoms There are many symptoms of ALL. In most cases people go to their doctor because they feel sick, and in some cases may complain of headaches, vomiting, confusion, loss of muscle control, or seizures. Leukemia also can affect other parts of the body such as the digestive tract, kidneys, lungs, heart, or testes. (“The…”) Diagnosis There are a series of tests that doctors can perform. A few being a physical exam, where the doctor just checks for swollen spleen, liver or lymph nodes. Another being a blood test, where the doctor takes a sample of your blood and sends it to a lab where the lab does a complete blood count to check the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. And finally, a biopsy, where your doctor removes tissue to look for cancer cells. This is sad to be the only sure way to know whether leukemia cells are in your bone marrow. These are the three most common diagnoses; others may include a cytogenetic test, a spinal tap test and a chest x-ray. (“National…”) Treatments There are many treatment options for people with ALL. These options are watchful waiting, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, biological therapy, radiation therapy, and stem cell transplant. Treatment can depend on your age and statistics say that people under the age of 25 have a higher chance of survival. It also may depend on certain features of the leukemia cells. Your doctor also considers your symptoms and general health. Aside from the statistics you should be treated right away, and as soon as possible. (“National…”) Reason For Topic The reason I chose to do my research paper on this particular type of cancer was inspired by what I saw on TV. In October of 2011, I was watching a pregame show for a college football game between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. During that pregame show, they did an interview with one of Oklahoma State’s wide receivers; Justin Blackmon. In the interview they went into depth of his background and a little girl that inspired him, the little girl had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and was told that she would not live. It was a few months after word that she met the Justin, and then became great friends. She would go on to live by the words “love cures ALL” and would inspire the young wide receiver to do the same. Long story short the message was very inspiring to me. I haven’t REALLY known anyone to die from cancer, nor to have been affected. So that is why I decided to do my project on ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia). Works cited "National Cancer Institute." Comprehensive Cancer Information -. Web. 11 Mar. 2012. <http://www.cancer.gov/>. "The American Cancer Society." American Cancer Society. Web. 11 Mar. 2012. <http://www.cancer.org/index>.
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