Leukemia is the cancer of the blood-forming tissues that includes bone marrow and lymphatic system. Adults and children are equally affected by Leukemia, which is seen as production of abnormal white blood cells by the bone marrow. Leukemia is perfectly curable at the early stage, says Dr. Vikas Dua, the best pediatric oncologist in Delhi.
Leukemia is characterized by abnormal white blood cells crowding out the normal cells that include white blood cells (WBC), red blood cells (RBC) and platelets. There are different types of leukemia. Doctors classify the type of leukemia by the speed of its progression. In case of acute leukemia, abnormal blood cells multiply rapidly. In chronic leukemia mature blood cells replicate and accumulate more slowly.
Those affected by Leukemia show the following symptoms:
- Fever or chills
- Persistent fatigue, weakness
- Frequent or severe infections
- Losing weight without trying
- Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Recurrent nosebleeds
- Tiny red spots in your skin (petechiae)
- Excessive sweating, especially at night
- Bone pain or tenderness
Looking at the symptoms, it is difficult to distinguish between leukemia and flu or other common illnesses. A series of genetic and environmental factors are responsible for development of leukemia.
Risk factors and complications
There is risk of developing some types of leukemia, under the following conditions.
- Previous cancer treatment
- Genetic disorders
- Exposure to certain chemicals
- Smoking cigarettes
- Family history of leukemia
- Tests and diagnosis
Chronic leukemia may be found during routine blood tests, following which the doctor may advice further tests. Physical exam includes observation of the skin, swelling of lymph nodes, and enlargement of spleen and liver. Blood tests show, abnormal growth of white blood cells or platelets. In the bone marrow test, a long and thin needle extracts the bone marrow for lab tests. In the lab tests, the bone marrow is studied for the presence of leukemia cells.
Treatments and drugs
The stage of leukemia decides the treatment process. Some of the common treatments for leukemia are chemotherapy, biological therapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy and stem cell transplant.
In chemotherapy, multiple drugs (pills and injections) are used to kill the leukemia cells. In biological therapy, the immune system is made to attack leukemia cells. While in targeted therapy the vulnerabilities within cancer cells are targeted.
In radiation therapy, the leukemia cells are destroyed with high radiation. The precision and accuracy of the treatment helps to target all the leukemia cells. In the stem cell transplant, the diseased bone marrow is replaced by healthy bone marrow.
Before the stem cell transplant process starts, a high dose of radiation is given to destroy the leukemia cells in the bone marrow. The diseased bone marrow is then replaced by a healthy bone marrow. The healthy stem cells are either taken from the patient’s own body, or from others.
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If you find any of the above mentioned Symptoms of Leukemia then Book an Appointment with the best pediatric oncologist in Delhi, India