What is leukemia
Leukemia is a type of cancer of blood cells and tissues that produce blood cells such as bone marrow. In a normal healthy situation, blood cells originate in the bone marrow as stem cells, later mature to form various types of blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets), and pass into the bloodstream.
As for those who suffer from leukemia, their bone marrow begins to produce abnormal white blood cells that enter the bloodstream and begin to compete with normal healthy blood cells, preventing them from doing their jobs properly, according to the King Hussein Cancer Foundation in Jordan.
What is the cause of leukemia disease
Leukemia begins when the DNA of a single cell in the bone marrow changes and cannot develop and function normally, (DNA is the “instruction code” for cell growth and function. Fragments of DNA form genes, which are arranged on larger structures called chromosomes) and all cells that originate from that mutated primary cell also have mutated DNA.
As for who causes damage to DNA in the first place, it is still not known in all cases. But scientists were able to identify changes in certain chromosomes of patients who were diagnosed with various types of leukemia. Therefore, according to the” Cleveland Clinic ” (clevelandclinic).
Risk factors that increase the chances of developing leukemia according to the King Hussein Cancer Foundation
Exposure to high levels of radiation.
Exposure to benzene (used in the chemical industry, and in cigarette smoke).
Certain types of chemotherapy drugs such as (Etoposide) and drugs known as (Alkylating Agents).
Having myelodysplastic syndrome and other types of blood disorders.
What does a leukemia patient feel
What a leukemia patient feels-the symptoms of leukemia – depend in part on the type of leukemia he has, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Symptoms of leukemia
A person gets tired easily, feels a little energized, weak.
Pale skin color.
Easy occurrence of bruising and bleeding.
Small red spots in the skin (called petechiae), purple spots in the skin.
Bone or joint pain.
Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit, groin, or stomach.
An enlarged spleen or liver.
Unexplained weight loss.
Shortness of breath.
Pain or a feeling of fullness under the ribs on the left side.
Loss of appetite or feeling of fullness after eating too little.
Bloating and discomfort in the abdomen.
Swelling and bleeding of the gums.
Keep in mind that if you have a chronic form of leukemia, you may not have any noticeable symptoms in the early stages of this cancer.
Types of leukemia
It grows and worsens very, very quickly, and may be life threatening. In this type, the bone marrow begins to produce large numbers of immature white blood cells called Blasts, which enter the bloodstream. These immature cells work quickly to compete with normal cells in the bloodstream, and do not perform their function in fighting infection, stopping bleeding or granting the occurrence of anemia, which makes the body very weak.
The two most common types of acute leukemia are:
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL acute lymphocytic leukemia).
Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML acute myelogenous leukemia).
Chronic leukemia (chronic leukemia)
It develops slowly and gradually worsens, and symptoms may need a long time before they appear. And sometimes chronic leukemia is diagnosed (by routine examination) even before any symptoms appear, because in this case the cancer cells are mature enough to carry out their functions like normal white blood cells, before they begin to worsen.
Types of chronic leukemia
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL chronic lymphocytic leukemia).
Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML chronic myelogenous leukemia).
Capillary cell leukemia
There is another type called hair Cell leukemia, which is a rare type that is named according to its shape under the microscope. This type of leukemia most often affects the elderly, men more often than women, and its most common symptoms include weakness and fatigue due to anemia.
Can a leukemia patient be cured?
The Cleveland Clinic says that from a scientific point of view, healing is a hopeful goal, however difficult it is to define in the field of cancer. Are you “cured” after 5 years of being cancer-free Or after 10 years And does the treatment mean that you no longer have any negative effects on your quality of life
Cancer researchers are usually more comfortable talking about achieving remission (the condition after diagnosis and treatment where cancer has not been detected in the body) long-term if you have been diagnosed with cancer. Children and adolescents, young adults, and people who are healthy with few other diseases generally score the best.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia represents one of the most dramatic success stories in cancer treatment. According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, approximately 90% of children and 40% of adults diagnosed with ALL can expect a long-term recovery.
It is better if your healthcare team answers the question “Have I been cured of my leukemia?””, According to the Cleveland Clinic.
The percentage of cure for leukemia
First, see the previous paragraph.
Secondly, the National Cancer Institute in the United States offers a 5-year survival rate for the four main types of leukemia, which are as follows:
Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL acute lymphocytic leukemia) %68.6.
Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML acute myelogenous leukemia) %28.3.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL chronic lymphocytic leukemia) %85.1.
Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML chronic myelogenous leukemia) %69.2.
Does leukemia lead to death?
See the previous question.
Diagnosis of leukemia
Your doctor will do a physical examination, order blood tests, and if the results are suspicious, he will order imaging tests and a bone marrow biopsy.
Your doctor will ask you about any symptoms you are experiencing and check for swollen lymph nodes. Your doctor may also look at your gums to see if they are swollen or bleeding, and look for bruises or a small red rash (petechiae) and signs of splenomegaly. You may not have many or any obvious symptoms if you have early-stage chronic leukemia. Symptoms can also be relatively common for many other illnesses, such as feeling tired or having flu-like symptoms that don’t improve.
Complete blood count (CBC)
This blood test gives details about red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. And if you have leukemia, you will have a lower-than-normal red blood cell and platelet count, and a higher-than-normal white blood cell count. And some leukemia cells can be found.
Examination of blood cells
Other blood samples can be taken, examined for the type and shape of blood cells, and examined for other substances secreted by organs and tissues of the body that may be signs of disease. Other tests may help identify chromosomal abnormalities and other markers on cells that help determine the type of leukemia.
Bone marrow biopsy Bone marrow biopsy
Also called bone marrow aspiration, if your white blood cell count is abnormal, your doctor will get a sample of bone marrow cells. During this procedure, a long needle is used to draw some fluid from your bone marrow, usually from an area near your hip.
Then the laboratory examines the blood cells in the liquid under a microscope. A bone marrow biopsy helps to determine the percentage of abnormal cells in the bone marrow, which confirms the diagnosis of leukemia.
Imaging and other tests
Your doctor may order a chest X-ray, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan if you have symptoms that indicate complications of leukemia, he may order a lumbar puncture (also called a spinal puncture) to see if the cancer has spread to the spinal fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
Treatment of leukemia
Leukemia treatments depend on the type of leukemia you have, your age, your general health, and whether the leukemia has spread to other organs or tissues. There are 5 common treatment categories, they include:
Chemotherapy are chemicals (drugs) given to a person, which kill leukemia cells or prevent them from dividing. Usually a combination of chemotherapy drugs is used. This is the most common form of leukemia treatment.
This therapy uses powerful beams of energy to kill leukemia cells or prevent them from growing. The radiation is directed to the exact locations in your body where there is a cluster of cancer cells or it can be given over your entire body as part of a hematopoietic cell transplant.
This therapy, also called biological therapy, uses certain drugs to strengthen the body’s defense system-the immune system – to fight leukemia. Immunotherapies include interferons, interleukins, T-cell therapy with dummy antigen receptors.
Targeted therapy Targeted Therapy
This therapy uses drugs that focus on specific features of leukemia cells. Targeted therapies work by preventing blood cancer cells from multiplying and dividing, cutting off the blood supply needed for cells to live, or killing cells directly.
Hematopoietic cell transplant hematopoietic cell transplant (also known as stem cell or bone marrow transplant)
This procedure replaces new, healthy hematopoietic cells with hematopoietic cancer cells that have been killed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy or one of them. These healthy cells are taken from you (before undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy), from donor blood or bone marrow and pumped back into your blood. Healthy hematopoietic cells grow and multiply, forming new bone marrow and blood cells that develop into all the different types of cells your body needs (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets).
In the case when cells are taken from a different person (donor), the new immune system recognizes cancer cells as foreign cells and kills them (similar to ot