The leukemia is of two kinds: acute leukemia and chronic leukemia.
In acute leukemia, there are abnormal blood cells and these abnormal cells number increases rapidly.
Chronic leukemia has no symptoms and the abnormal blood cells function normally. When the number of blood cells increases, then the symptoms occur.
Acute leukemia is caused due to some risk factors but the exact cause is still unknown. High levels of radiation can cause high risk when you are exposed to them.
Some chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene are used in chemical industry. You are mostly affected with leukemia when you work in these industries.
Chemotherapy is used to treat cancer but the alkylating agents are involved in the development of leukemia. Down syndrome is the genetic disease that leads to leukemia.
Leukemia travels through out the body like the blood cells. You may have certain symptoms that include
- Loss of weight
- Head ache
- Infections that occur frequently
- Night sweats or fever
- Feeling tired or weak
- Pains in the joints or bones
- Easy bruising and bleeding
- Lymph nodes in the armpit or neck swollen
- Discomfort or swelling in abdomen
The symptoms of acute leukemia are confusion, vomiting, seizures and muscle control is lost. Lungs, digestive tract, kidneys and other organs are also affected. In these conditions, you should consult a doctor immediately for diagnosis and treatment.
The doctor may advice you to take the blood test and other exams.
Physical exam: Swelling of the liver, lymph nodes and spleen are checked.
Blood test: The level of white blood cells is checked in the lab. Signs are checked for leukemia to know whether the kidney and liver are affected or not.
Biopsy: The bone marrow from hipbone is removed and the sample is tested under microscope for the cancerous cells. This is the only method to know about the acute leukemia.
To know the extent of the disease and the type of disease, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and biological therapy treatments are given to the patient.
Chemotherapy is usually done by using the chemptherapic drugs that are given in the form of injection through veins or orally. These drugs are given by the combination of two oe more drugs or alone.
The side effects are lip sores, nausea, mouth sores, hair loss, diarrhea, hot flashes, loss of appetite and menopause in women.
Biological therapy improves the natural defense ability by giving injections through veins. Monoclonal antibodies are used to treat the chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
This provides the immunity to kill cancer cells. The natural interferon is used to treat the chronic myeloid leukemia.Some side effects are swelling or rashes, anemia and flu-like symptoms.
Radiation therapy uses high energy radiations from large machine that direct the brain, spleen and other parts with leukemia cells to kill the cancer cells. The skin is mostly affected by this. The skin becomes tender, dry and red.
Acute leukemia can be treated with chemotherapy, biopsy, biological therapy and radiation therapy.