Leukemia Facts and Information

Knowing these leukemia facts will help you deal with it, whether you are suffering from it or you're helping a loved one fight it. Leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow and the blood. There are four types of leukemia:

  • Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
  • Chronic myelogenous lukemia (CML)
  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

If the leukemia is acute, it progresses rapidly. The result is an accumulation of immature cells in the blood marrow and in the blood. These immature cells are functionless. Because the marrow stops producing normal red cells, platelets and white cells, anemia develops in leukemia patients. Chronic leukemia is slower. This allows more functional cells to be made.

The most common type of leukemia to affect children is acute lymphocytic leukemia. According to leukemia-lymphoma.org, more than 5,700 new cases were diagnosed in children during 2009.

Adults are usually affected by acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) or chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). In 2009, there were 12,810 new cases of AML and 15,490 new cases of CLL. Males are more prone to leukemia than females; men account for about 57% of the new cases each year. Over the last 40 years (as of 2009), the survival statistics of leukemia have improved.

Symptoms
Acute leukemia signs include easy bleeding, easy bruising, a pale skin tone, minor infections that keep plaguing the body, poor healing of minor cuts and fatigue. These symptoms may also be caused by other conditions, but if you are unsure of anything or have not been diagnosed with another condition, you should get checked out as soon as possible. Blood and marrow tests are used to diagnose leukemia.

Prognosis and Treatment
Remission is when there is no evidence of leukemia in the body and the blood and marrow cells are normal. If the remission lasts five years, it is a good indication of long-term survival.

Treatments are varied, depending on the person. There are agents and drug combinations that are combined with supportive care that give a leukemia patient a better chance for survival. Common treatments include chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and the use of interferon to prevent cancer cells from replicating. 

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