Symptoms of leukemia - symptoms, and treatment of leukemia

 Blood Cancer - Leukemia

Leukemia or leukemia is a type of cancer of the blood cells and tissues that produce blood cells such as the bone marrow. 

In a normal health situation, blood cells arise in the bone marrow as stem cells, and later mature to form different types of blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets), and move into the bloodstream. 

As for those who suffer from leukemia, their bone marrow begins to produce abnormal white blood cells that enter the bloodstream and begin to compete with normal, healthy blood cells, preventing them from performing their functions properly.

Symptoms of leukemia - symptoms, and treatment of leukemia

Types of blood cancer (leukemia)

Acute leukemia: It grows and worsens very quickly, and can be life-threatening. In this type, the bone marrow begins producing large numbers of immature white blood cells called blasts, which enter the bloodstream. 

These immature cells quickly compete with normal cells in the bloodstream and do not do their job of fighting infection, stopping bleeding, or causing anemia, making the body very weak.

The two most common types of acute leukemia are:

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Chronic leukemia: It develops slowly and gets progressively worse, and symptoms may take a long time before they appear. 

Sometimes chronic leukemia is diagnosed (through routine screening) before there are any symptoms because the cancer cells are mature enough to function as normal white blood cells before they start to progress.

Types of chronic leukemia:

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).

There is another type called hairy cell leukemia, a rare type named according to its appearance under the microscope. 

This type of leukemia mostly affects the elderly, and men more than women, and its most common symptoms include weakness and fatigue due to anemia.

Risk factors that increase the chances of developing leukemia

Exposure to high levels of radiation.


Exposure to benzene (used in the chemical industries, and in cigarette smoke).

Certain types of chemotherapy drugs such as (Etoposide) and drugs known as (Alkylating Agents).

Myelodysplastic Syndrome and other types of blood disorders.                                 

Symptoms of leukemia

Feeling tired and unwell.

Losing a lot of weight for no reason.

Loss of appetite or feeling full after eating little food.

Ease of bleeding and bruising.

frequent infection;

Unexplained fever or night sweats.

Swollen lymph nodes (especially in the neck and under the armpits).

Abdominal bloating and discomfort.

Swelling and bleeding in the gums.

leukemia diagnosis

Blood tests: Complete blood count (CBC), kidney function test, liver function test, and uric acid level test. A blood smear examination under a microscope is also necessary to look for any cancerous cells.

A bone marrow biopsy is the most common test to determine the type of leukemia.

Lumbar puncture (Spinal tap) to look for cancer cells in the spinal fluid (cerebrospinal fluid), which is the fluid that fills the spaces in and around the brain and spinal cord.

Cytogenic Analysis: A laboratory looks at chromosomes in cells from samples of blood, bone marrow, or lymph nodes to determine if there are any genetic problems. 

For example, people with CML have an abnormal chromosome called the Philadelphia chromosome.

Molecular diagnosis (PCR and FISH assays). The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay can detect traces of cancer cells in the body, while the fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assay detects any chromosomal defects in the cell's DNA.

Leukemia treatment at King Hussein Cancer Center

Treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia: Treatment includes three phases: induction therapy, post-remission therapy, and maintenance therapy. 

These three treatments include chemotherapy, radiation, bone marrow transplantation, and stem cells.

Treatment of acute myeloid leukemia: Usually chemotherapy is sufficient to treat this type of leukemia in some patients. 

In others, bone marrow or stem cell transplant is performed to increase the chances of recovery, or in the event of a relapse or exacerbation of the disease. 

It is common for patients to need support with blood transfusions, or platelets and antibiotics in case of infection.

Chronic myelogenous leukemia treatment: This treatment aims to destroy blood cells that contain abnormal genes. 

Being a "chronic" disease, the treatment will not cure the patient, but it may allow him to lead a somewhat normal life. 

Patients learn how to manage the side effects of long-term treatment. Treatment may also include bone marrow transplantation, chemotherapy, and biological therapy. Agriculture is an important method for younger people.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment: Various methods are used to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia, the most common of which are chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and 

targeted therapies, which are treatments that target specific cancer cells without affecting other cells. Sometimes surgery may be needed to remove an enlarged spleen

Treatment of hairy cell leukemia: Because of the slow growth of this type of cancer, some patients may not need any treatment, but most will need treatment. 

Although this type is not expected to be cured, the treatment puts it in a state of inactivity for a long time and includes chemotherapy, biological, and sometimes surgical intervention to remove the spleen.

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