leukemia or blood cancer; Causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Leukemia is cancer of the blood cells or bone marrow. Leukemia usually affects people over the age of 55 and is also the most common type of cancer for people under the age of 15. This disease usually occurs when the white blood cells grow rapidly. White blood cells are immune cells that resist infection caused by any type of organism. The abnormal growth of white blood cells causes their density, which will take away their ability to fight infection. In this article from the section diseasesHello doctor, we are investigating leukemia.

What is leukemia?

Leukemia is a cancer of white blood cells (blood cells). In a healthy cell cycle, cells grow, divide, and eventually die, but in leukemia, this pattern is lost. Cells are driven to abnormal growth and not die. Leukemia occurs when there is a disturbance in the order of the cell cycle.

Types of leukemia

Based on the growth rate and location of the cancer, leukemia is divided into the following four types:

Acute bone marrow leukemia (AML):

This type of blood cancer often affects bone marrow cells. AML starts in the bone marrow (the spongy, jelly-like tissue found in the bone) and spreads rapidly through the bloodstream, and may also spread to other organs in the body.

Chronic bone marrow leukemia (CML):

Chronic bone marrow leukemia is a rare type of indolent leukemia that occurs due to genetic changes in bone marrow cells (cells that make blood cells other than lymphocytes). This disease usually occurs due to the accumulation of cancer cells over a long period of time.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL):

This type of blood cancer is formed due to a disruption in the DNA of the bone marrow. In acute lymphoblastic leukemia, large numbers of lymphoblasts (immature and abnormal blood cells) are produced, which affect the white blood cells. This type of leukemia is common in children.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL):

CLL is a type of leukemia that begins in the lymphoid cells and affects a type of white blood cell. The patient may not experience any symptoms of the disease because CLL develops very slowly over months or even years.

Leukemia or blood cancer

What are the causes of leukemia?

The main cause of leukemia is still unknown. But researchers believe that leukemia is usually caused by damage to the DNA of immature white blood cells. Damaged blood cells grow and divide rapidly, which results in their replacement by healthy blood cells.

Abnormal blood cells accumulate in the body and are not destroyed, thus preventing the growth and proper functioning of healthy white blood cells and leading to leukemia.


The sick person may not immediately notice the symptoms. It takes a few months or even a few years for the symptoms of leukemia to be noticeable in the patient. These symptoms vary depending on the type of leukemia. The most common symptoms of leukemia are:

1) Fever

2) Shivering

3) Weakness

4) Fatigue

5) Unwanted weight loss

6) Inflammation in lymph nodes

7) Bleeding

8) Inability to coagulate blood

9) Severe and frequent infections

10) Excessive sweating during the night

11) Bone pain

12) Anemia

13) Indifference

14) Headache

Leukemia or blood cancer

Leukemia risk factors

Factors that increase the risk of developing leukemia include:

Personal history of cancer treatments:

People who have undergone chemotherapy or radiation therapy to treat other types of cancer are also at risk of developing leukemia.

Family history of leukemia:

People with a family history of leukemia are at high risk of developing leukemia.

Technical conditions:

Genetic disorders are caused by genetic abnormalities, and a person with genetic diseases such as Down syndrome is at high risk of developing leukemia.

Exposure to chemicals:

Long-term exposure to certain chemicals such as gasoline, benzene, and car exhaust gases causes certain changes in the chromosomes in bone marrow cells that increase the risk of developing leukemia.


Cigarette smoke contains certain chemicals such as benzene that increase the risk of leukemia.

Leukemia or blood cancer


The doctor will begin the diagnosis by reviewing the patient’s family history, medical history, and signs and symptoms, a physical exam to assess the body’s general health, and look for physical signs of leukemia, such as pale skin from anemia, inflamed lymph nodes, and a swollen spleen. or the liver is done.

A physical exam is not enough to confirm the diagnosis, so the doctor will also prescribe the following tests.

Complete blood test:

A complete blood test is done to assess a person’s overall health. In this process, a blood sample is taken and tested to determine the levels of red blood cells (RBC), white blood cells (WBC) and blood platelets. Any abnormal levels of blood components indicate leukemia.

Biopsy (tissue removal):

In this test, a sample of bone marrow tissue or lymph nodes is removed using a sterilized needle and examined under a microscope to confirm leukemia. This operation is performed under local anesthesia, the use of sedatives, or complete anesthesia. A biopsy is performed to determine the type of leukemia and its growth rate.

Bone marrow aspiration:

This process is a diagnostic method to evaluate the fluid and tissue in the bone marrow. This test is performed under local anesthesia. In this method, a sample of soft bone tissue is taken and analyzed to evaluate chromosomal changes. Any abnormality in the chromosomes indicates leukemia.

Other tests such as chest x-ray scan, lumbar puncture, CT scan and MRI are also done to assess the extent of the disease.

Leukemia or blood cancer

Leukemia treatment

Treatment is based on the patient’s age, type and stage of leukemia. The main goal of treatment is to destroy cancer cells and cure the disease. Common treatment options for leukemia include:


Chemotherapy is a common treatment for leukemia that uses drugs to treat it. Therapeutic drugs are prescribed based on the type of leukemia.


In this method, high-energy rays are used to inhibit the growth of leukemia. Radiation therapy by damaging the DNA (genetic hair in the cell), will lead to the death of cancer cells and prevent their growth. Radiation therapy can be used simultaneously with chemotherapy.

Biological therapy:

This treatment is used along with other treatments for leukemia. This treatment slows down the growth and prevents cancer from spreading to other parts of the body.

Targeted therapy:

Targeted therapy involves the use of drugs that identify and attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells.

Stem cell transplant:

Stem cell transplantation is performed to replace the patient’s bone marrow with new bone marrow. Stem cell transplantation may be done using the patient’s own bone marrow or another person (donor).

It is recommended that the patient undergo chemotherapy and radiation therapy before the stem cell transplant in order to destroy the damaged bone marrow.

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