Leukemia is cancer of the blood forming tissues that also affects the bone marrow and the lymphatic system. Such a type of cancer causes abnormal development of cells that gradually enter the bloodstream .
Symptoms of leukemia vary with the type. The common symptoms of the disease include the following :
The following are the various diagnostic procedures for detecting leukemia :
Treating leukemia is a complex process as it would greatly depend on the stage of the disease and the type of leukemia present. Some of the common treatment methods employed for treating the condition are explained below :
Prognosis of the disease condition depends on the type of leukemia and the stage at which the condition was diagnosed. If leukemia is diagnosed in its early stages then the prognosis is favorable with timely initiation of treatment and regular follow up checkups .
The factor that triggers the development of leukemia is yet to be figured out. However, a combination of various factors such as environment and heredity are known to play foul. In addition, various types of risk factors such as exposure to chemical compounds such as benzene, tobacco smoking, ionizing radiation and prior treatment with chemotherapy can also predispose an individual to develop leukemia  .
Leukemia is a widespread problem affecting the male and female population equally. It has been estimated that every year about 13.0 per 100,000 fresh cases of leukemia are diagnosed. Statistics also reveal that there were about 7.0 per 100,000 cases of death due to leukemia every year. Researchers have also established statistical data which state that in the year 2014, there would be 52,380 new cases of leukemia. Of these, 24,090 cases of death due to leukemia would also occur in the same year. Statistical data has also confirmed that leukemia accounts for 4.1% of all cancer deaths. This form of cancer is also widely prevalent amongst the pediatric population  . It has been estimated that each year in US about 2500 – 3500 new cases are diagnosed .
Leukemia begins with attacking the white blood cells of the body. As a result of this, the infection fighting ability of the white blood cells is greatly diminished making the body more prone to contract infectious diseases. Leukemia also affects the bone marrow as a result of which abnormal cells are produced which fail to function in the normal way. Such sequence of events causes the abnormal cells to affect other body organs such as the liver, eye and the spleen. There are basically 4 types of leukemia, namely: Acute lymphocytic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and chronic myeloid leukemia. Other rare types of leukemia are myeloproliferative disorders, hairy cell leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes .
It is practically not possible to prevent leukemia. However, the spread of the disease can be prevented if detected on time and timely initiation of treatment.
There are several forms of leukemia; some which affect the children and some which affect the adult population. Leukemia usually begins by primarily attacking the white blood cells which are essential for warding off infections. But, when the cancer affects the white blood cells, these are no longer capable of safeguarding the body against infections. The underdeveloped white blood cells are known as blasts or leukemia cells . Treatment of leukemia is a complex process that needs to be designed keeping in mind several factors.
Leukemia is the cancer of the white blood cells that also affects the lymphatic system and the bone marrow. It is a common condition affecting the children as well as the adult population.
The exact factor that triggers the abnormal development of cells is not clearly understood. However, interplay of environment and genetic factors are known to play foul in causation of leukemia.
Diagnosis of leukemia is done by blood tests to determine complete blood count which would give an idea about the white blood cell count. In addition to this, bone marrow test is also done to analyze for the presence of leukemia cells.
Treatment of leukemia consists of chemotherapy and radiation therapy which targets the cancer cells and destroys them. In addition, stem cell transplant is also the method of choice wherein the diseased bone marrow is replaced with a healthy one. Patients suffering from leukemia are also given targeted therapy which works by destroying specific components of the leukemia cells.