The disease known as leukemia is cancer that starts in the blood and bone marrow. It begins in the early stages of development in the bone marrow, where new blood cells are made. Leukemia can affect any white blood cell but most commonly affects lymphocytes (white blood cell) and myelocytes (white blood cell that matures into lymphocytes or monocytes).
What Are the Symptoms of Leukemia?
Leukemia starts in the blood-forming cells of bone marrow. The bone marrow is the soft tissue inside bones that makes blood cells. In leukemia, the blood cells change and grow uncontrollably. The abnormal blood cells crowd out normal blood cells, making it hard for blood to do its work. Leukemia symptoms vary depending on how quickly the disease progresses and where it is in the body.
Common symptoms of leukemia include:
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Weight loss
- Bone pain or tenderness
Types of Leukemia
There are four main leukemia types, each characterized by the abnormal cells it produces.
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia:
It's one of the most common types in children. Symptoms of acute lymphocytic leukemia can include fatigue, fever, and an increased risk of infections.
Acute Myelogenous Leukemia:
Symptoms of acute myelogenous leukemia include fatigue, fever, and easy bruising or bleeding. It affects the blood and bone marrow and is treated with chemotherapy.
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia:
It is a chronic, slow-growing form of leukemia and the most common type in adults. CLL usually affects older adults, with the median age at diagnosis being 71 years old.
Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML):
This type is caused by a mutation in the genes that control cell growth. CML is a serious disease that can be fatal if not treated properly.
What Are the Treatment Options for Leukemia?
Leukemia treatments options vary depending on the type of leukemia but may include:
- Chemotherapy: It is the most common treatment for leukemia and involves using drugs to kill cancer cells.
- Radiation Therapy: In this therapy, high-energy beams kill cancer cells.
- Stem cell transplant: It replaces damaged bone marrow with healthy tissue.
Treatment for leukemia is often complex and requires the care of a team of specialists.
How Can You Cope With a Leukemia Diagnosis?
A leukemia diagnosis can be devastating. Now, Many resources are available to help you and your family cope with this diagnosis. The first step is to develop a support system. This may include family, friends, or a support group for people with leukemia. Learning as much as possible is also essential. This will help you make informed decisions about your treatment.
So, taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally is important. This may include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress. A leukemia diagnosis is difficult, but there are ways to manage it. You can make it through this tough time by developing a support system, learning about your disease, and taking care of yourself.
If you experience any leukemia symptoms, you must see a doctor for a diagnosis. With treatment, many people with leukemia can achieve long-term remission.