What is Leukemia?
Leukemia is blood disease also known as cancer of blood. It attacks in the bone marrow, a supple tissue inside the bones and also the house of blood cells. Our blood is composed of three types of cells:
- White blood cells which fight against infections.
- Red blood cells help in transmitting oxygen to all parts of the body.
- Platelets help in clotting of blood.
Leukemia is an ailment in which the body starts to produce white blood cells in large quantities. These cells do not act as immunity rather known as Leukemia cells. Their production increases rapidly and overcome the number of red blood cells in our body, thus leading to problems like anemia, lymph swelling and other infections.
Types of Leukemia
The type of Leukemia depends upon how rapidly and what kind of white blood cells develop inside the body of an individual. Depending upon the speed of development of cells, it may be classified as:
- Acute: Acute Leukemia grows rapidly and makes the patient’s condition worse within a short span.
- Chronic: Chronic Leukemia develops over years and does not show instant symptoms.
Depending upon the types of blood cells, it is classified into:
- Lymphocytic: This type of Leukemia targets WBC’s called lymphocytes.
- Myelogenous: This type of Leukemia affects red blood cells or platelets.
There are other four main types of Leukemia:
- Acute Myelogenous Leukemia
- Acute lymphoblastic Leukemia
- Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
- Chronic lymphoblastic Leukemia
How is Leukemia Formed?
Due to one or many causes, number of WBCs overrides RBCs. This increment in WBCs results in blood cancer.
Symptoms of Leukemia
Features indicating Leukemia are:
- Swelling near neck, arm pits or at junction area between the abdomen and thighs
- Loss in weight and appetite
- Pain in bones
- Recurring fevers
- Bleeding from nose, gums or in forms of bruises or menstruation
- Nighttime sweats
- Excessive ache in left side of stomach
- Unusual tiredness
Although there is no specific reason of development of Leukemia inside a person’s body, still doctors say that different Leukemias are caused by different causes. Some of the known causes of the disease are:
- Human T-Lymphotropic Virus and Human Immunodeficiency Virus top the list of Leukemia caused by viruses.
- Sometimes, the formation of Leukemia cells in the body is catalyzed by benzene and other petrochemical products.
- In case the patient has already undergone chemotherapy in past, alkylating the chemotherapy agents is an expected reason of developing Leukemia.
- Hair dyes
- Artificial Ionizing Radiation
- People suffering from chromosomal irregularities are more vulnerable to Leukemia.
- Magnetic field rays emitted by motors, mobile phones etc. are known to cause Leukemia.
- Families having twins might suffer from Leukemia because of Genetic Predisposition. They are at a higher risk of developing this disease due to single or multiple genes.
- Though the rarest case of all, Leukemia can also be caused bymaternal fetal transmission.
Risk Factors of Developing Leukemia
The following categories of people are more vulnerable to Leukemia.
- Cancer treatment undergone in past: People who have already undergone chemo or radio therapies are more endangered to suffer from Leukemia.
- Hereditary disarray: Down syndrome or other genetic disorders are linked with the danger of different types of Leukemia.
- Contact with certain chemicals: This might be a serious issue for the people working in gas or petrol industry. Certain chemicals expose the person to the threat of Leukemia.
- Smoking: AML is caused by smoking cigarettes.
- Family member suffering from Leukemia: You are at a higher risk of acquiring the disease if your family member has been diagnosed with Leukemia.
Test and Diagnosis
Following tests are performed by doctors to check the presence of Leukemia:
- Physical exam: Under this diagnosis, doctor looks for the physical symptoms such as pale skin, swelling or organ enlargement.
- Blood Tests: Blood tests are done to check the high level of white blood cells inside the body of the patient.
- Bone Marrow Test: In this test, the bone marrow of a person is removed and checked for certain symptoms. Further treatment is performed on the basis of this test.
- On the basis of these tests, the stage of Leukemia is determined.
Treatment For Leukemia
Different types of Leukemia hold different types of treatments. The age of the patient and his wellness is an important factor while treating the disease. A hospital with trained and experienced doctors is highly recommended for Leukemia patients. The doctors make sure that the cancer cells die and do not develop again till five years of the treatment.
Patients suffering from acute Leukemia undergo induction therapy along with chemotherapy. If the health of the person degrades, he may need post induction therapies or consolidation therapy or even a bone marrow transplant.
- Chemotherapy: This is the most common form of treatment of cancer. Chemotherapy involves use of chemicals to destroy the Leukemia cells. These chemicals are either injected in the body or given in the form of pills.
- Biological Therapy: This therapy strengthens the immune system, and helps the body to identify and attack Leukemia cells.
- Targeted Therapy: This therapy includes use of drugs that target definite susceptibilities in the cells of cancer.
- Radiation therapy: This therapy involves use of X-rays and high energy beams to wipe out Leukemia cells. These cells are targeted through precise points on your body.
- Stem cell Transplantation: This procedure includes replacement of infected bone marrow with a healthy one. High amount of chemotherapy and radiation therapy is provided to tear down the infected marrow.
Even after the treatment, Leukemia patients are advised for a regular checkup after every 6 months.
How IMT will help you to get best treatment for Leukemia?
IndianMedTrip (IMT) works as a perfect destination for providing world class quality treatment for leukemia to patients across the globe. We strive to work towards patients’ betterment by providing transparent, seamless, hassle free and cost effective treatments to overcome leukemia and live a healthier and quality life ahead.