Leukemia is a cancer of blood or bone marrow that produces blood cells. A person with leukemia has an abnormality in the production of blood cells which is usually leukocytes (white blood cells) so that DNA from young blood cells (especially white blood cells) becomes damaged. This disorder causes blood cells to develop and divide continuously. Healthy blood cells die in a short time and are replaced with new cells produced in the bone marrow.
These abnormal blood cells do not die at the time they should, and eventually accumulate, then eat more space in the blood. As more cancer cells are produced, these cells inhibit the function and growth of healthy white blood cells by filling the space in the blood. In essence, bad cells push out good cells in the blood.
The signs and symptoms of acute lymphotic leukemia are:
- Pale skin
- Bleeding gums
- Bone or joint pain
- Dizziness or headache
- Easy to experience infection
- Frequent vomiting or nosebleeds
- Lumps caused by lymph nodes appear
- Significant fatigue or decreased energy
- The appearance of bruising in the body
- Swelling around the neck, armpits, stomach, or groin
Acute lymphotic leukemia or acute lymphocyte leukemia (ALL)
ALL can inhibit lymphocyte function so that the sufferer has the potential to experience a serious infection. This blood cancer is generally suffered by children, but can also attack adults.
Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
This is a type of blood cancer that generally attacks adults. But AML can also be suffered by children and adolescents. This cancer will form myeloid cells that are imperfect and can clog arteries.
Chronic lymphotic leukemia or chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
This type of blood cancer is only experienced by adults. CLL is generally only detected at an advanced stage because patients tend not to feel the symptoms for a long time.
Chronic myelogen leukemia or Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
This type of blood cancer is mostly suffered by people over the age of 20 years. CML has two stages. In the first stage, abnormal cells will develop slowly. When entering the second stage, the number of abnormal cells will increase rapidly so that it will decrease dramatically.
In general, blood cancer or leukemia involves the bone marrow which is the place where white blood cells are made. Cells that are generally effective in eradicating this infection grow abnormally so that ultimately makes the body’s immune function not function optimally.
Causes and Blood Cancer Risk Factors
The basic cause of blood cancer is not known with certainty. However, suspected DNA mutations in white blood cells cause changes in the actions of each cell. In addition, other changes in white blood cells due to gene and environmental factors are also thought to contribute to leukemia.
Factors that are thought to increase blood cancer risk include:
Heredity or genetics. People with Down syndrome or other rare genetic disorders increase the risk of developing acute leukemia. While chronic lymphatic leukemia is often inherited in families and is usually experienced by men. In addition, a family history of leukemia can also increase the risk of experiencing the same disease.
Have had cancer treatment. Certain chemotherapy or radiotherapy is thought to trigger blood cancer.
Have experienced exposure to high levels of radiation or certain chemicals. For example, people who have been involved in accidents related to nuclear reactors or experienced chemical exposure such as benzene.
Smoke. Cigarettes will not only increase the risk of blood cancer (especially acute myelogen leukemia), but also various other diseases.
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