Leukemia, which is a cancer of the blood, affects more than 9,000 people each year. Here is everything you need to know to understand this disease.
This disease that affects both children and the elderly is neither more nor less than a cancer of the blood. In France, it is estimated that each year, more than 9000 people are affected by this disease which involves a rather heavy treatment. Here’s everything you need to know on World Leukemia Awareness Day.
What is leukemia?
Leukemia is cancer some blood. It is materialized by the presence of malignant cells in the bone marrow. The disease in most cases affects the white blood cells which then spread throughout the body.
There are however several types of leukemia, which do not affect all age groups and differ in the speed of progression of the disease or the stem cells affected.
This is’one of the most serious forms, due to the speed of its evolution. When detected, treatment should be quick to kill as many abnormal cells as possible that accumulate in the bone marrow.
It is the least invasive form, and the most difficult to detect because the process of cell degradation is very slow. He can put several years before the first symptoms appear.
This disease affects white blood cells called lymphocytes. Acute lymphoid leukemia often affects young children while chronic lymphocytic leukemia concerns people aged 60 to 70.
This shape does not affect the same cells, it attacks the granulocytes. Acute myeloid leukemia is more common in adolescents and chronic myeloid leukemia affected patients between 25 and 60 years old.
What are the symptoms of this disease?
Symptoms of leukemia depend on patients but above all the type of disease they are suffering from.
The manifestations of the disease can take different forms such as:
- upper respiratory tract infection
- heavy periods
- blood spots on the skin
- enlarged lymph nodes
Causes of leukemia
For many patients, the causes of the disease cannot be explained. However, as research progressed, doctors were able to identify some risk factors that could cause leukemia.
Leukemia can bea genetic defect that affects the chromosome 22 and 9, causes the appearance of an additional gene called the Philadelphia chromosome.
People exposed to chemotherapy or radiation therapy in the past may end up develop leukemia also, just like those in regular contact with chemicals.
Finally, it has been proven that certain illnesses such as Down’s syndrome could cause blood cancer.
What are the treatments for leukemia?
Treatments prescribed to patients depend on the type of leukemia affecting them. Even if medical progress has greatly improved the daily life of patients with the least onerous therapies possible, side effects of drugs or chemotherapy are far from negligible.
People affected by acute leukemia are forced to pass by intensive chemotherapy box to destroy the most cancer cells. Radiotherapy sessions are also added to this procedure. even a bone marrow transplant. Anyone can to be a bone marrow donor, thanks to a simple blood sample or a puncture.
Patients with myeloid leukemia have them, drug therapy that blocks the proliferation of malignant cells. Just like after chemotherapy, patients nevertheless suffer from side effects more or less violent like digestive problems (diarrhea, nausea), cramps or even skin reactions.
In the context of chronic leukemia, patients are monitored closely at baseline, and depending on disease progression, may require chemotherapy.