Leukemia is cancer that starts in the tissue that forms blood. In a person with leukemia, the bone marrow makes abnormal white blood cells. The abnormal cells are leukemia cells. Unlike normal blood cells, leukemia cells don’t die when they should. They may crowd out normal white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This makes it hard for normal blood cells to do their work.
Acute Leukemia : Acute Lymphoblastic (lymphoid) Leukemia (ALL) accounts for majority of the cases of Leukemia and is one of the few forms of cancer that is more common in children than adults. Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is however more prevalent in adults.
Chronic Leukemia : Chronic leukemia which progress slowly is rare in childhood Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) accounts for less than 3% of childhood leukemia. Chronic Lymphoblastic Leukemia however is not seen in children.
Blood tests : The lab does a complete blood count to check the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Leukemia causes a very high level of white blood cells. It may also cause low levels of platelets and hemoglobin, which is found inside red blood cells.
Biopsy : Your doctor removes tissue to look for cancer cells. A biopsy is the only sure way to know whether leukemia cells are in your bone marrow. Before the sample is taken, local anesthesia is used to numb the area. This helps reduce the pain. Your doctor removes some bone marrow from your hipbone or another large bone. A pathologist uses a microscope to check the tissue for leukemia cells.
Bone marrow aspiration : The doctor uses a thick, hollow needle to remove samples of bone marrow.
Bone marrow biopsy : The doctor uses a very thick, hollow needle to remove a small piece of bone and bone marrow.
Cytogenetics : The lab looks at the chromosomes of cells from samples of blood, bone marrow, or lymph nodes. If abnormal chromosomes are found, the test can show what type of leukemia you have. For example, people with CML have an abnormal chromosome called the Philadelphia chromosome.
Spinal tap : Your doctor may remove some of the cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that fills the spaces in and around the brain and spinal cord). The doctor uses a long, thin needle to remove fluid from the lower spine. The procedure takes about 30 minutes and is performed with local anesthesia. You must lie flat for several hours afterward to keep from getting a headache. The lab checks the fluid for leukemia cells or other signs of problems. Request a Call Back
Leukemia treatment plans often are personalized and customised for each individual patient. In general, there are five major approaches to the treatment of leukemia :
Chemotherapy – to kill leukemia cells using strong anti-cancer drugs.
Interferon Therapy to slow the reproduction of leukemia cells and promote the immune system’s anti-leukemia activity.
Radiation Therapy to kill cancer cells by exposure to high-energy radiation.
Stem Cell Transplantation (SCT) to enable treatment with high doses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy surgery to remove an enlarged spleen or to install a venous access device (large plastic tube) to give medications and withdraw blood samples.
Oncologists administer these treatments in a variety of combinations. Each method has its advantages and drawbacks. It usually is worthwhile to get a second opinion about treatment before entering into a specific program; in some instances, a second opinion may be required by the patient’s insurance company. For example, stem cell transplantation (SCT) is very costly and entails a long stay in the hospital. Some insurance companies still consider this to be an “experimental” procedure and will not pay for SCT-related expenses.
The treatment of leukemia depends on a number of factors. The most important of these are the histopathologic (diseased tissue) type of leukemia, its stage, and certain prognostic features, such as the patient’s age and overall health. Post a Query
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