Month of Cancer: Leukemia

One form of blood cancer that affects the bone marrow is Leukemia. The soft tissue or material found in the middle of most bones is called bone marrow.

Stem cells in the bone marrow are the source of the majority of blood cells. The stem cells develop into many blood cell types, each of which is specialised to carry out a certain task. As the body requires them, these stem cells in the bone marrow produce white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.

Neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, and eosinophils are some of the different types of white blood cells that aid in the fight against infection. Red blood cells deliver oxygen to all bodily tissues, and platelets aid in the formation of blood clots that stop bleeding.

New cells are created to replace those that perish as a result of these cells’ ageing or injury.

Two immature cell lines, myeloid (which matures to make other white cells like neutrophils) and lymphoid blasts, are used to create the white blood cells (mature to form the lymphocytes). White blood cells that develop from lymphoid blasts are distinct from those that develop from myeloid blasts. The bone marrow produces aberrant white blood cells in Leukemia patients. Leukemic cells are these aberrant cells.

Leukemic cells do not expire when they should, in contrast to healthy blood cells. They may crowd out healthy red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells, resulting in fewer of these healthy cells overall, which would impair their ability to perform their regular functions.

This makes it challenging for typical blood cells to function.

Leukemia can be classified according to how quickly it progresses and gets worse. Either chronic (which often worsens gradually) or acute leukemia can occur (which usually worsens quickly).

People with chronic leukemia may not initially exhibit any symptoms of the illness, and they are typically discovered during routine exams. This is because some leukemic cells are still capable of performing some functions normally performed by white blood cells. Chronic leukemia deteriorates gradually. Leukemia symptoms, like swelling in the lymph nodes or infections, start to show up when the blood level of leukemia cells rises. When symptoms do manifest, they typically start out mildly and then worsen.

In acute leukemia, the leukemic cells are unable to perform any of the functions of healthy white blood cells. These leukemic cells proliferate swiftly and typically get worse soon. Consequently, symptoms also emerge quickly.

Leukemia can also be categorised in addition to this according on the type of white blood cell that is damaged. Myeloid or lymphoid cells have been known to develop into leukemia. Lymphoid, lymphocytic, or lymphoblastic leukemia is the term used to describe leukemia that affects lymphoid cells. Myeloid, myelogenous, or myeloblastic leukemia is the term used when the myeloid cell line is involved.

There are four common forms of leukemia based on how the cells look:

CLL is a type of leukemia that mostly affects lymphoid cells and grows slowly in most cases. People who are diagnosed with the condition are often older than 55. Children are hardly ever affected by it.

Myeloid cells are impacted by chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), which initially tends to grow slowly. Also, it primarily affects adults.

Lymphoid cells are affected by acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which grows swiftly. The most prevalent kind of leukemia in young children is ALL. Adults are not exempt from its effects.

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML): AML grows quickly and damages myeloid cells. Both adults and children can get it.

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