Leukemia : Causes-Symptoms-Diagnosis-Treatment

What is leukemia?

Leukemia is a cancer that occurs in the blood and bone marrow. In leukemia, the body produces abnormal white blood cells. These abnormal cells can crowd out the healthy blood cells in the bone marrow, making it difficult for the body to fight infection. Leukemia can be either acute or chronic.

Cancer begins when the body’s cells start to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer, and can spread to other areas of the body. To learn more about cancer in general, see What Is Cancer? Leukemia is cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue, usually the bone marrow.

What is leukemia?

  • Leukemia is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal white blood cells There are several types of leukemia and each type is classified by the type of cell that is affected Leukemia can be acute chronic or lymphocytic Acute leukemia develops rapidly while chronic leukemia develops more slowly over time Lymphocytic leukemia accounts for about one-quarter of all childhood leukemias but only 3 to 4 percent of adult cases It occurs most often in adults between ages 20 and 40. Leukemia is most prevalent in children under age 5 and in adults over age 60.

  • Leukemia commonly involves the white blood cells. Your white blood cells are amazing infection warring parties — they typically grow and divide in an orderly way, as your body wishes them. But in human beings with leukemia, the bone marrow produces an excessive amount of bizarre white blood cells, which don't characterize well. Treatment for leukemia can be complicated — depending on the sort of leukemia and different factors. But there are techniques and assets that can help make your remedy a success.

Medical term

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. In simple terms, cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. Cancer can develop anywhere in the body.In leukemia, abnormal cells grow rapidly and out of control in the bone marrow. These abnormal cells can cause leukemia. Leukemia enters the bloodstream. Unlike other cancers, leukemia generally does not form into a mass (tumor) that can be seen with X-rays.

Leukemia comes in many different forms. Some are more common in children; others are more common in adults. Treatment for leukemia depends on the type of leukemia you have and other factors.

What are the symptoms of leukemia

Symptoms of leukemia can vary from person to person. People with the disease may feel fatigue, have frequent infections, easy bruising or bleeding, or bone pain. Other symptoms include fever, night sweats, weight loss and swollen lymph nodes. The symptoms can occur slowly or suddenly.

As an adult, the most common type of leukemia diagnosed is chronic lymphocytic leukemia or CLL. Symptoms of leukemia may be subtle at first and include fatigue, enlarged lymph nodes, recurrent infections and easy bruising or bleeding. As the disease progresses, patients may experience weight loss, fever, night sweats, and bone and joint pain. In the terminal stages of leukemia, patients may develop a build-up of fluid in the brain, which can lead to headaches, seizures, or vomiting.

Leukemia signs and symptoms vary, relying on the form of leukemia. Common leukemia symptoms and symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills

  • Persistent fatigue, weakness

  • Frequent or intense infections

  • Losing weight without trying

  • Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen

  • Easy bleeding or bruising

  • Recurrent nosebleeds

  • Tiny purple spots on your pores and skin (petechiae)

  • Excessive sweating, particularly at night time

  • Bone ache or tenderness

Can leukemia be cured?

Leukemia is a type of cancer that is characterized by too many immature white blood cells in the bloodstream White blood cells are part of the body's immune system which fights germs and infections Cancers are abnormal cell growths that interfere with normal functioning of the body In leukemia the bone marrow — the soft center of some bones — produces new white blood cells at an unusually rapid rate These new white blood cells are not fully developed so they do not fight germs as well as mature ones do The excessive number of white blood cells crowd out other types of blood cells leading to a shortage of red blood cells platelets and normal white cells This causes problems throughout the body including anemia.

How long can you live with leukemia?

Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the bone marrow where all blood cells are made Cancerous white blood cells multiply out of control and crowd out the healthy cells in the bone marrow This can cause symptoms like fatigue infections and bleeding In most cases leukemia is highly treatable with chemotherapy or radiation therapy It's also possible to live a long full life with leukemia.

How successful are leukemia treatments?

Leukemia treatments are successful in many cases. In fact some people with leukemia can go into remission for years and never need another bone marrow transplant or chemotherapy treatment However it's important to note that not all treatments are 100 percent effective and some types of leukemia cannot be cured through conventional medicine.

What were your first signs of leukemia?

The first sign of leukemia is often a blood test that indicates a higher than normal white blood cell count This can be caused by certain infections or some diseases and conditions but it’s important for people to have the additional testing done that can confirm the diagnosis.

Where does leukemia start?

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow It affects the production of white blood cells red blood cells and platelets in the body Leukemia begins with the accumulation of abnormal white blood cells called leukemic blasts After these abnormal cells accumulate they form into leukemia The blast cells can either remain in the blood or settle in the bone marrow where they can continue to grow and multiply As the blasts increase in number they crowd out healthy blood cells which can affect various parts of the body including the lymph nodes spleen and liver As a result symptoms occur that are directly related to where the abnormal stem cells settled in the body.

What age is adult leukemia?

Leukemia a type of blood cancer refers to cancers that result from the overproduction of leukocytes or white blood cells There are several types of leukemia one of which is called adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) Adult ALL is characterized by an excessive production and accumulation of immature white blood cells called lymphoblasts Adult ALL has three stages: chronic accelerated and acute The symptoms and treatment of each stage depend on the amount of cancer cells in the body how they respond to treatment and how quickly they grow and multiply.

When do you see a doctor about leukemia?

Most people with leukemia show no symptoms in the early stages of the disease and feel fine. However, some people may have fatigue, pale skin, fever, easy bleeding or bruising, weight loss, or frequent infections. These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have leukemia, but they do warrant a visit to your doctor. Only a doctor can confirm whether or not you have leukemia.

People with leukemia usually see a doctor when they have some combination of the following leukemia symptoms: fatigue, easy bruising or bleeding, bone or joint pain, painless lumps in the neck, underarm, stomach, or groin, fever, night sweats, weight loss, or pale skin. People with these symptoms should see a doctor promptly so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.

  • Make an appointment along with your medical doctor when you have any persistent signs or signs and symptoms that fear you.

  • Leukemia symptoms are regularly indistinct and no longer specific. You may also neglect early leukemia signs due to the fact they may resemble symptoms of the flu and other not unusual ailments.

  • Sometimes leukemia is discovered for the duration of blood exams for some different circumstance.

Types of leukemia

There are four main types of leukemia, which are determined by the type of white blood cell that is affected and how quickly the leukemia develops. The four main types of leukemia are:  acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).


The primary kinds of leukemia are:

  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). This is the maximum not unusual type of leukemia in young kids. ALL can also arise in adults.

  • Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). AML is a not unusual form of leukemia. It occurs in children and adults. AML is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults.

  • Hairy cell leukemia (HCL). Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is a rare, chronic leukemia characterized by the presence of atypical circulating B lymphocytes, called hairy cells, in the peripheral blood.

  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). This type of leukemia in particular impacts adults. An individual with CML may have few or no signs for months or years earlier than getting into a segment wherein the leukemia cells develop greater quickly.

  • Other kinds. Other, rarer kinds of leukemia exist, including hairy cell leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes and myeloproliferative problems.

Causes of leukemia

Causes of leukemia are not fully understood. However, some risk factors have been identified. People with certain genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome, are at increased risk. People who have been exposed to certain chemicals, such as benzene, are also at increased risk.

Leukemia occurs when abnormal white blood cells divide uncontrollably in the bone marrow, resulting in a large population of abnormal cells that crowd out the body’s healthy blood cells. The abnormal white blood cells are unable to fight infection and can cause bleeding and bruising. Some types of leukemia can also affect red blood cells and platelets. Leukemia is classified according to how fast it develops and which cells are affected.


How leukemia forms

In preference, leukemia is noted to arise while a few blood cells collect modifications (mutations) of their genetic fabric or DNA. A cell's DNA contains the instructions that tell a cell what to do. Normally, the DNA tells the mobile to develop at a fixed rate and to die at a fixed time. In leukemia, the mutations tell the blood cells to maintain growing and dividing.

When this happens, blood mobile manufacturing becomes out of manipulation. Over time, those odd cells can crowd out healthy blood cells in the bone marrow, leading to fewer wholesome white blood cells, crimson blood cells and platelets, inflicting the symptoms and symptoms of leukemia.

How leukemia is classed

Doctors classify leukemia primarily based on its speed of progression and the kind of cells involved.

The first form of class is by way of how speedy the leukemia progresses:

  • Acute leukemia. In acute leukemia, the odd blood cells are immature blood cells (blasts). They can not carry out their ordinary features, and they multiply rapidly, so the ailment worsens quickly. Acute leukemia requires competitive, well timed treatment.

  • Chronic leukemia. There are many varieties of continual leukemias. Some produce too many cells and some purpose too few cells to be produced. Chronic leukemia involves extra-mature blood cells. These blood cells mirror or collect extra slowly and may feature generally for a period of time. Some types of persistent leukemia to begin with produce no early symptoms and can pass disregarded or undiagnosed for years.

The 2d kind of category is via sort of white blood cell affected:

  • Lymphocytic leukemia. This form of leukemia influences the lymphoid cells (lymphocytes), which form lymphoid or lymphatic tissue. Lymphatic tissue makes up your immune gadget.

  • Myelogenous (my-uh-LOJ-uh-nus) leukemia. This kind of leukemia affects the myeloid cells. Myeloid cells supply upward thrust to purple blood cells, white blood cells and platelet-producing cells.

Leukemia risk

A 2016 study published in the journal Epidemiology analyzed the impact of three important lifestyle factors on the risk of developing leukemia. The study looked at the risk of developing leukemia in relation to body mass index (BMI), smoking history, and alcohol consumption. The study found that all three lifestyle factors are independently associated with an increased risk of leukemia.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of cancer in children, and the most common reason for cancer-related death in children under the age of 15. Despite advances in treatment, the cure rate for ALL remains only about 70%. The purpose of this study was to identify new genetic risk factors for ALL.


Factors that can growth your hazard of developing a few types of leukemia encompass:


  • Previous most cancers treatment. People who have had positive kinds of chemotherapy and radiation remedy for different cancers have an elevated hazard of growing certain types of leukemia.

  • Genetic problems. Genetic abnormalities seem to play a role in the improvement of leukemia. Certain genetic problems, together with Down syndrome, are related to an improved threat of leukemia.

  • Exposure to positive chemical compounds. Exposure to certain chemicals, including benzene — that is determined in gasoline and is used by the chemical industry — is connected to an expanded hazard of some sorts of leukemia.

  • Smoking. Smoking cigarettes will increase the chance of acute myelogenous leukemia.

  • Family records of leukemia. If individuals of your own family were identified with leukemia, your chance of the disorder may be elevated.

What will happen if I have leukemia?

It's hard to say for sure if you or someone you love will survive a diagnosis of leukemia. There are many things that affect the outcome, including the person's age, general health, and other medical conditions. There are many factors that can affect your chance of recovery, including:

  • Leukemia cells have genetic alterations that are the most important predictor of a patient's survival.

  • The younger the person is when they are diagnosed with a disease, the better their chances of having a good outcome.

  • A good outcome for a patient depends on their general health. The better the health of the patient, the better their chance for a good outcome.

  • What type of blood cell leukemia is involved?

  • The red blood cell, white blood cell, and platelet counts should be at their highest at the time of diagnosis.

  • After the initial treatment, what is leukemia's status? Was the leukemia previously treated and does it still exist? Did the leukemia not respond to previous treatments?

  • Leukemia cells are found in areas that are not easily reached by chemotherapy. This can happen when leukemia cells are found in the spinal fluid.

Although the number of new cases of leukemia has remained relatively stable or slightly increased in recent years, the survival rate has also improved.

The National Cancer Institute reports the following survival rates for leukemia:

Types of Leukemia





Types of Leukemia





5- year survival rate*









Number of deaths per 100,000 persons









Death is highest among those aged









Table legend:

Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood. There are many different types of leukemia, each with its own name. Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) are all types of leukemia.Cancer patients have a lower chance of surviving than people who do not have cancer.

This information is from the SEER Cancer Statistics Review 1975-2016 report from the National Cancer Institute.

Each patient's treatment results and long-term outcome will vary.

Diagnosis Leukemia

Doctors may additionally find persistent leukemia in a habitual blood check, earlier than signs begin. If this happens, or if you have signs or symptoms that suggest leukemia, you can go through the subsequent diagnostic assessments:


  • Physical exam. Your medical doctor will look for physical signs and symptoms of leukemia, inclusive of light pores and skin from anemia, swelling of your lymph nodes, and expansion of your liver and spleen.

  • Blood exams. By looking at a pattern of your blood, your physician can decide when you have bizarre degrees of purple or white blood cells or platelets — which might also propose leukemia. A blood check may additionally display the presence of leukemia cells, although now not all varieties of leukemia motivate the leukemia cells to circulate within the blood. Sometimes the leukemia cells live within the bone marrow.

  • Bone marrow check. Your medical doctor may also recommend a technique to remove a pattern of bone marrow out of your hip bone. The bone marrow is removed using a protracted, skinny needle. The pattern is sent to a laboratory to look for leukemia cells. Specialized assessments of your leukemia cells may additionally monitor certain traits that are used to decide your treatment alternatives.

What is bone marrow?

Bone marrow is the soft, spongy tissue located in the center of all bones. It is a small space where different kinds of blood cells are created and where vital resources are supplied to help these cells grow. Blood cells keep our body healthy and running smoothly. There are many different types of blood cells that are produced in the bone marrow. These include: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

  • Red blood cells carry oxygen and other materials to all parts of the body.

  • White blood cells are responsible for fighting infection.

  • Platelets are important because they help the blood to clot.

Your body produces billions of new blood cells each day in your bone marrow. This keeps you constantly supplied with fresh, healthy cells.

Treatment Leukemia

Icône de validation par la communauté

Treatment of your leukemia relies upon many elements. Your physician determines your leukemia remedy options based on your age and usual health, the form of leukemia you've got, and whether or not it has spread to different parts of your frame, which includes the valuable anxious system.


Common remedies used to fight leukemia encompass:

  1. Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is the major form of remedy for leukemia. This drug remedy uses chemical compounds to kill leukemia cells.

  2. Depending on the type of leukemia you have, you could obtain an unmarried drug or an aggregate of drugs. These tablets might also be available in a tablet form, or they will be injected directly right into a vein.

  3. Targeted therapy. Targeted drug remedies cognizance on precise abnormalities gift within cancer cells. By blocking those abnormalities, focused drug treatments can reason cancer cells to die. Your leukemia cells could be examined to peer if centered remedy may be useful for you.

  4. Radiation remedy. Radiation therapy uses X-rays or other excessive-electricity beams to harm leukemia cells and forestall their increase. During radiation therapy, you lie on a table at the same time as a big machine moves around you, directing the radiation to specific points for your frame.

  5. You may get hold of radiation in a single particular area of your body where there may be a group of leukemia cells, or you can acquire radiation over your entire body. Radiation remedy can be used to put together for a bone marrow transplant.

  6. Bone marrow transplant. A bone marrow transplant, additionally called a stem mobile transplant, allows reestablish healthful stem cells with the aid of changing dangerous bone marrow with leukemia-unfastened stem cells with a purpose to regenerate healthy bone marrow.

  7. Prior to a bone marrow transplant, you acquire very excessive doses of chemotherapy or radiation remedy to break your leukemia-generating bone marrow. Then you acquire an infusion of blood-forming stem cells that assist rebuild your bone marrow.

  8. You may obtain stem cells from a donor or you will be able to use your own stem cells.

  9. Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy uses your immune machine to combat cancer. Your frame's ailment-preventing immune system may not attack your most cancers because the most cancers cells produce proteins that help them cover from the immune machine cells. Immunotherapy works with the aid of interfering with that process.

  10. Engineering immune cells to fight leukemia. A specialized treatment called chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T mobile remedy takes your frame's germ-preventing T cells, engineers them to fight cancer and infuses them lower back into your body. CAR-T mobile therapy might be a choice for positive kinds of leukemia.

  11. Clinical trials. Clinical trials are experiments to test new cancer remedies and new ways of the usage of present treatments. While medical trials provide you with or your infant a threat to try the ultra-modern cancer treatment, remedy benefits and risks may be unsure. Discuss the advantages and dangers of medical trials along with your health practitioner.

What questions should I ask my doctor and healthcare team after I’ve been diagnosed with leukemia?

Talk with your doctor and healthcare team about your diagnosis of leukemia. Each case of leukemia is different in each person. Keep notes, and bring a friend along to help you take notes and provide support. If you don't understand something a doctor says to you, ask the doctor. I can't explain it all right now. Your healthcare team wants you to be involved in your loved one's care or care of leukemia.

Some of the questions you may want to ask your doctor and team include:

  • What type of leukemia am I having? In which type of cell? Is it a fast- or slow-growing kind of cancer?

  • How early was the leukemia discovered?

  • What are my treatment options?

  • What are the benefits and risks of each type of treatment?

  • What type of treatment plan is best for me? Why?

  • When should treatment begin?

  • How long will the treatment last?

  • How long will I be in the hospital?

  • What are the possible side effects of treatment? What can be done to lessen or prevent these side effects?

  • If you want to have children, what are your options for preserving your fertility?

  • What is the likelihood of my leukemia survival?

  • Should I enroll in a clinical trial?

Next Post Previous Post