Leukemia is a form of cancer that develops in immature blood cells, or cells that have not formed completely yet. While it is most common in those over the age of 55, it is also the most common cancer in children under 15. The treatment and prognosis for this type of cancer depends on the type of blood cell that is affected.
Leukemia is a disease that shows no obvious symptoms, especially early in the disease’s development. In most cases, patients who are diagnosed with leukemia find indicators during physical exams or routine blood testing. Some patients who do exhibit symptoms often have swollen lymph nodes, appear pale in color, have swollen gums, and suffer from chronic fatigue.
If the physician suspects that the patient could have leukemia, a blood test will be administered. The blood will be tested for an abnormal white cell count, which can be an indication of leukemia.
In order to confirm that leukemia has developed and determine which type it is, a biopsy will be performed. During a biopsy, the doctor will remove bone marrow from the pelvic bone. The sample will be tested by a pathologist.
Leukemia is categorized by whether it is acute or chronic. Acute is fast growing and tends to get worse quickly. Chronic develops at a much slower rate.
|Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia||This aggressive type affects lymphoid cells, which are white blood cells that provide immune response. It is also the most common form of leukemia found in children.|
|Acute Myeloid Leukemia||This aggressive form of leukemia encourages the development of too many immature white cells, and typically results in too few red cells being produced.|
|Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia||This form is a slow growing cancer of the lymphoid cells. It typically affects those who are 55 years of age or older, and almost never is found in children..|
|Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia||This form is similar to acute myeloid leukemia, except it is much slower to develop.|
*Data is taken from medicinenet.com
The treatment options that you will be given for leukemia depend on the stage of the disease. However, the most common treatment options tend to include:
To schedule an appointment or obtain a second opinion on your diagnosis, please call the CareMount Medical Cancer Center Referral Line at 1-844-484-3292.