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Leukemia Essay

1602 words - 7 pages

Leukemia strikes both sexes of all ages and the causes of most cases are unknown Leukemia is a form of cancer that begins in the blood -forming cells of the bone marrow, which is the soft inner part of the bones. Leukemia, which literally means "white blood" in Greek occurs when there is an excess of abnormal white blood cells in the blood. These are known as leukocytes and these cells are so plentiful in some individuals that the blood is actually a whitish colour. Under normal circumstances, the blood cells that are being formed of the bone marrow make leukocytes to defend the body against contagious organisms such like viruses and bacteria. But, if some leukocytes are damaged and remain ...view middle of the document...

Symptoms of a patient may occur with other cancer's as well as noncancerous disorders. Nevertheless, all signs and symptoms vary for each type of leukemia. For example, chronic leukemia patients cannot be diagnosed for many years until it is identified throughout frequent blood tests. Chronic leukemia can progress slowly and with few symptoms. On the other hand however, the symptoms of a patient with acute leukemia worsen much quicker. Most symptoms of acute leukemia are caused by lack of normal blood cells. This is due to the overcrowding of the blood - forming bone marrow by the leukemic cells. The general features of the symptoms of leukemia are as follows. A patient with leukemia may experience weakness, pallor and weight loss categorised as anemia and/or bone pain due to the marrow expansion due to leukemic cells. A patient may also experience haemorrhaging and/or bruising due to an abnormal decrease in the number of platelet's in the circulatory blood. And last but not least, a patient may suffer with fatigue, nausea, vomiting, headache and possibly blurred vision because of the fact that the central nervous system is also being attacked by the disease; the cancerouscells may collect around the central nervous system. Because symptoms often resemble those of other less serious conditions, leukemia can be difficult to diagnose early. When a physician does suspect leukemia, diagnosis can be made by blood tests, and a biopsy of the bone marrow. (National Cancer Institute, Leukemia) Leukemia can be diagnosed in a number of ways. Blood work is commonly done in the laboratory. Different forms of blood work include checking the hemoglobin count, platelet count, or white blood cell count. X- rays and/or ultrasounds can both be used as treatment follow up's. A CT scan may also be used. A CT scan is a special type of X- ray used as a detailed cross section of a specific area or part of the body2. Bone marrow is routinely tested to examine the progress of the disease. If diagnosed with leukemia, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or bone marrow transplants are all possible alternative for treatments of leukemia. (National Cancer Institute, Leukemia) The treatment of Leukemia is very complex. Chemotherapy however is the most effective method of treating leukemia. Chemotherapy is the treatment(s) of cancer with drugs that can attempt to destroy cancerous cells. Normal cells grow and die in a controlled way. However, when cancers occurs, the cells of the body that are not normal keep dividing and forming more cells without control. Various anticancer drugs are used which are cells that destroy cancer cells by stopping them from growing or multiplying. Healthy cells can also be harmed, obviously especially those that divide quickly. Harm to healthy cells is what causes side effects. Though. these cells usually repair themselves after chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can cure the cancer, meaning that the patient is free of evidence of cancerous cells...

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