Tuesday, 20 December 2016
Leukemia is cancer of the body's blood-forming tissues, including the bone marrow and the lymphatic system. The DNA of immature blood cells, mainly white cells, becomes damaged in some way. This abnormality causes the blood cells to grow and divide uncontrollably. Normal blood cells die after a while and are replaced by new cells which are produced in the . The abnormal blood cells do not die so easily, and accumulate, occupying more and more space. As more and more space is occupied by these faulty blood cells there is less and less space for the normal cells - and the sufferer becomes ill. Quite simply, the bad cells crowd out the good cells in the blood. There are different types of leukemia, based upon how quickly the disease develops and the type of abnormal cells produced. Leukemia is called an acute leukemia if it develops rapidly. Large numbers of leukemia cells accumulate very quickly in the blood and bone marrow, leading to symptoms such as tiredness, easy bruising, and susceptibility to infections. Acute leukemia requires fast and aggressive treatment.
The Types of Leukemia
The onset of leukemia can be acute (sudden onset) or chronic (slow onset). In acute leukemia, cancer cells multiply quickly. In chronic leukemia, the disease progresses slowly and early symptoms may be very mild.
Leukemia is also classified according to the type of cell. Leukemia involving myeloid cells is called myelogenous leukemia. Myeloid cells are immature blood cells that would normally become granulocytes or monocytes.Leukemia involving lymphocytes is called lymphocytic leukemia. There are four main types of leukemia:
Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)
Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) can occur in children and adults. According to National Cancer Institute (NCI), about 21,000 new cases of AML are diagnosed annually in the United States. This is the most common form of leukemia.
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)
Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) occurs mostly in children. About 6,000new cases of ALL are diagnosed annually.
Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) affects mostly adults. About 7,000new cases of CML are diagnosed annually.
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is most likely to affect people over the age of 55. It’s very rarely seen in children. About 15,000 new cases of CLL are diagnosed annually.
Hairy cell leukemia is a very rare subtype of CLL. Its name comes from the appearance of the cancerous lymphocytes under a microscope.