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What Is Leukemia? Plain Talk And Answers

Aug 17, 2007
Leukemia occurs when an increasing number of malignant cells displace normal cells or prevent them from functioning as they normally would. While the term Leukemia is usually used to describe a broad range of cancers, it is exclusively restricted to cancers that affect the blood and bone marrow.

The symptoms of Leukemia are generally unmistakable at least unmistakable in the sense that there is some type of pathology present. Some of these symptoms include a mild to severe flu or fever, general debilitating weakness, loss of appetite, headaches, enlarged organs, and bloody or bleeding gums. Additionally, the onset of Leukemia is fast; and should be treated immediately upon even a partial discovery of these symptoms.

Since there are so many forms of Leukemia, it is usually categorized into two different groups: either acute or chronic. While both forms involve a build up of blood cells that prevent the proper functioning of bone marrow (by crowding out functional cells), acute forms generally involve the rapid generation of relatively immature cells; whereas chronic Leukemia usually involves the generation of mature blood cells.

Additionally, these two different forms of Leukemia also require different approaches for treatment. While acute Leukemia is usually treated immediately upon discovery in most cases, chronic Leukemia is usually monitored at least for a short period of time to determine the best pathway through which to treat the disease. This is because the onset of acute Leukemia is generally faster and more deadly. Patiences could potentially die in as little as a few weeks to a few months after developing the cancer. This this isn't always the case with chronic forms, it still can be; and it is every bit as serious, which is why it is important to go to a doctor if you believe you are experiencing any of the symptoms.

In addition to these two forms of Leukemia, there is another type of classification. This is dependent on which cells are most affected. When Lymphoid cells are affected most, it is sometimes called lymphocytic leukemia. In contrast, if the myeloid cells are the ones affected, then it will be called myeloegenous; however, it is important to note that either of these two classifications can be acute or chronic.

While different forms of Leukemia occur in different demographics, it is largely an adult and elderly form of cancer and is usually brought about by the contraction of a virus or some other form of abnormality (although the cause is usually known). Some forms of Leukemia, however, also do affect children and usually incur a much higher mortality rate when they do.
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