Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia - What It Is, Symptoms and Treatmentscondition. In additionAcute Lymphocytic Leukemia(ALL) is a cancer that starts from the initial version of white blood cells called lymphocytes in the bone marrow (the soft inner part of the bones where new blood cells are made). Leukemia cells usually invade the blood fairly quickly. They can then spread to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and testicles (in males). Other cancers can also start in these organs and then spread to the bone marrow, but these cancers are not leukemia.
The term "acute" means that leukemia can progress rapidly and, if left untreated, will probably be fatal within a few months. Lymphocytic means that it develops from early (immature) forms of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. This is different from acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), which develops in other types of blood cells found in the bone marrow. So check it out nowAcute Lymphocytic Leukemia - What It Is, Symptoms and Treatments:
What is Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia:THEAcute Lymphocytic Leukemia(ALL) is a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow - the spongy tissue inside the bones where the blood cells are made. The word "acute" in theAcute Lymphocytic Leukemiacomes from the fact that the disease progresses rapidly and creates immature, rather than mature, blood cells. The word "lymphocytic" inAcute Lymphocytic Leukemiarefers to white blood cells called lymphocytes, which ALL affect..
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THEAcute Lymphocytic Leukemiais also known as acute lymphoblastic leukemia. THEAcute Lymphocytic Leukemiais the most common type of cancer in children, and treatments result in good chances of cure. THEAcute Lymphocytic Leukemiacan also occur in adults, although the chance of a cure is greatly reduced.
Causes of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia:THEAcute Lymphocytic Leukemiaoccurs when a bone marrow cell develops errors in its DNA. The mistakes say that the cell keeps growing and dividing, when a healthy cell normally fails to divide and eventually dies. When this happens, the production of blood cells becomes abnormal..
The bone marrow produces immature cells that grow into white leukemic cells called lymphoblasts. These abnormal cells are unable to function properly, and they can create and expel healthy cells. It is not clear what causes DNA mutations that can lead toAcute Lymphocytic Leukemia. But doctors have found that mostAcute Lymphocytic Leukemiaare not hereditary.
Symptoms of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia:The signs and symptoms ofAcute Lymphocytic Leukemiamay include:
- Blood from the gums
- Bone pain
- Frequent infections
- Frequent or severe nosebleeds
- Grooves caused by swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, abdomen or groin
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Weakness, fatigue or general decrease of energy
- Talk to your doctor or your child's doctor if you notice any persistent signs and symptoms that worry you.
Many signs and symptoms ofAcute Lymphocytic Leukemiathey mimic those of the flu. However, the signs and symptoms of flu will eventually improve. If the signs and symptoms do not improve as expected, make an appointment with your doctor..
Risk Factors for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia:Factors that may increase the risk ofAcute Lymphocytic Leukemiainclude:
- Previous treatment of cancer.Children and adults who have had certain types of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for other cancers may have an increased risk of developingAcute Lymphocytic Leukemia.
- Radiation exposure.People exposed to very high levels of radiation, such as survivors of a nuclear reactor accident, have an increased risk of developingAcute Lymphocytic Leukemia.
- Genetic disorders.Certain genetic disorders, such as Down's syndrome, are associated with an increased risk ofAcute Lymphocytic Leukemia.
- Have a brother or sister with EVERYONE.People who have a sibling, including a twin, withAcute Lymphocytic Leukemiahave an increased risk of ALL.
Diagnosis of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia:Tests and procedures used to diagnoseAcute Lymphocytic Leukemiainclude:.
- Bloodtests.Blood tests can reveal many white blood cells, not enough red blood cells and not enough platelets. A blood test may also show the presence of explosive cells - immature cells normally found in the bone marrow.
- Bone marrow test.During aspiration of the bone marrow, a needle is used to remove a sample of bone marrow from the hipbone. The sample is sent to a laboratory for tests to look for leukemia cells. Doctors in the lab will classify blood cells into specific types based on size, shape, and other features. They also look for certain changes in the cancer cells and determine if the leukemic cells started from B lymphocytes or T lymphocytes. This information helps your doctor develop a treatment plan.
- Image tests.Imaging tests, such as an x-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan or ultrasound scan, may help to determine if the cancer has spread to the brain and spinal cord or other parts of the body.
- Spinal fluid test.A lumbar puncture test, also called a spinal torsion, can be used to collect a sample of spinal fluid - the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The sample is tested to see if the cancerous cells have spread to the spinal fluid.
Treatments of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia:In general, treatment forAcute Lymphocytic Leukemiafalls into separate phases:.
- Induction therapy.The goal of the first phase of the treatment is to kill most of the leukemia cells in the blood and bone marrow and restore normal production of blood cells.
- Consolidation therapy.Also called post-remission therapy, this phase of treatment is designed to destroy any remaining leukemia in the body, such as in the brain or spinal cord.
- Maintenance therapy.The third stage of the treatment prevents the leukemic cells from regenerating. The treatments used at this stage are usually given at much lower doses over a long period of time, often years.
- Preventive treatment for the spinal cord.During each phase of therapy, people withAcute Lymphocytic Leukemiamay receive additional treatment to kill leukemia cells located in the central nervous system. In this type of treatment, chemotherapeutic drugs are often injected directly into the fluid that covers the spinal cord.
Depending on your situation, the treatment stages forAcute Lymphocytic Leukemiacan last from two to three years. Treatments may include:
- Chemotherapy.Chemotherapy, which uses drugs to kill cancer cells, is typically used as induction therapy for children and adults withAcute Lymphocytic Leukemia. Chemotherapy drugs can also be used in the consolidation and maintenance phases.
- Directed drug therapy.Targeted drugs target specific abnormalities present in cancer cells that help them grow and thrive. A certain abnormality called the Philadelphia chromosome is found in some people withAcute Lymphocytic Leukemia. For these people, targeted drugs can be used to target cells that contain this abnormality. Targeted drugs include imatinib (Gleevec), dasatinib (Sprycel), nilotinib (Tasigna) and blinatumomab (Blincyto). These medications are approved only for people with the Philadelphia chromosome positive form and may be taken during or after chemotherapy.
- Radiation therapy.Radiation therapy uses high-power beams, such as X-rays, to kill cancer cells. If the cancer cells have spread to the central nervous system, your doctor may recommend radiation therapy. Transplantation of stem cells. A stem cell transplant can be used as consolidation therapy in people at high risk of relapse or to treat relapse when it occurs. This procedure allows someone with leukemia to restore healthy stem cells by replacing the leukemic bone marrow with bone marrow without the leukemia of a healthy person. A stem cell transplant starts with high doses of chemotherapy or radiation to destroy any bone marrow producing leukemia. The marrow is then replaced by bone marrow from a compatible donor (allogeneic transplant).
- Clinical tests.Clinical trials are experiments to test new cancer treatments and new ways to use existing treatments. Although clinical trials offer you or your child a chance to try the latest cancer treatment, the benefits of treatment and the risks may be uncertain. Discuss the benefits and risks of clinical trials with your doctor.
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Alternative medicine:No alternative treatments have been proven to cureAcute Lymphocytic Leukemia. But some alternative therapies can help alleviate the side effects of cancer treatment and make you or your child more comfortable. Discuss your options with your doctor, as some alternative treatments may interfere with cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. Alternative treatments that can relieve the symptoms ofAcute Lymphocytic Leukemiainclude:
- Relaxation exercises
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