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A Look at Leukemia

Leukemia is a devastating disease. It’s a form of cancer that attacks the body’s blood cells. In this form of cancer, the disease begins in bone marrow, which is the soft tissue in bones, and is where blood cells are produced. Leukemia produces an overabundance of white blood cells, but they are not efficient white blood cells because they are cancer cells. After a while, the cancer cells take over, which inhibits the work of the white blood cells. This is what causes many problems such as anemia, bleeding, and infection.

While it’s uncertain the exact cause of leukemia, many experts suspect that it can result from the following:

Radiation -When someone is exposed to large amounts of radiation over a long period of time, his or her risk of cancer is higher.

Chemicals – Chemicals, such as benzene, which is often found in certain types of work settings can cause the disease.

Genetic Abnormalities – Individuals with Down syndrome or other type of genetic problem are more susceptible to the disease.

Smoking – Smoking can increase the chance of someone suffering from this disease.

Symptoms Associated with Leukemia

The symptoms of this disease can make sufferers extremely ill. Some of the symptoms they experience are:

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Easily bruising and bleeding
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Swollen and painful stomach
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Infections
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

 

Treating Leukemia

The goal in treating leukemia is to return blood counts to normal levels and achieve remission. There are several treatment options to work toward that goal including medication therapies and chemotherapy. Depending on the specific patient’s needs, the doctor will provide customized treatment schedules. Surgery is not an option for treating leukemia as it may be in other types of cancer because in the case of this disease the cancer is in the blood.

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