Leukemia is a kind of cancer that occurs in the blood or the bone marrow and affects the white blood cells. It affects the blood forming tissues and the lymphatic system. White blood cells fight potent infections. However, the bone marrow of the affected person tends to produce abnormalor immature white blood cells, known as ‘Leukemia Cells’ or ‘Blasts’. These cells are not fully developed and don’t function properly.
The bone marrow produces healthy and fresh blood cells. The blood cells of humans die after a certain point which gets replaced by the fresh ones. Leukemia occurs when the immature white blood cell’s DNA gets damaged. These immature blood cells proliferate as they grow and divide rapidly. They do not die when they should and instead they gather together and occupy more space. This in return stops the healthy cells from growing, filling the blood with cancer cells.
Leukemia generally affects older people and children below the age of 15. It is one of the most prevalentforms of cancers among children. Scientists are unable to pinpoint the exact cause of Leukemia. However, as of yet, it is believed that genetic and non-inherited factor play a role in the occurrence of this. People who have members in their family who have suffered from the disease are at higher risks than others. Other factors like Downsyndrome, smoking, artificial ionizing radiation etc. can also be the reason. Some viruses like HIV and human T-lymphotropic virus can also be the factor.
There are two types of Leukemia- Lymphocytic Leukemia and Myelogenousfic Leukemia. These could either be Acute or Chronic. Mostly, children are diagnosed by Acute Leukemia. Here, the abnormal or immature cells multiply rapidly and spread fast which doesn’t let the bone marrow produce healthy cells. In this case, immediate treatment needs to be meted out. In comparison, in Chronic Leukemia, the blood cells are relatively mature and take time to progress. Therefore, the exact treatment can be well monitored before implementing. Chronic Leukemia can happen in all age groups. However, it affects older people more.
Though pegged asa fatal disease, Leukemia can be controlled by some ways. The result of the treatment is dependent on two things: the type of Leukemia that has occurred and the age of the patient diagnosed and the stage of Leukemia.