Leukemia is cancer of your body's blood-forming tissues, including your bone marrow and lymphatic system. The 3 main forms of the disease are;
1. Acute Leukemia which is a malignant proliferation of white blood cell blasts in bone marrow or lymph tissue. 2. Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia also known as granulocytic leukemia. 3. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia which is common in the elderly and accounts for about 25% of all new leukemia cases.
Acute leukemia accounts for about 20% of leukemias, it's most common forms are: 1. Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) 2. Acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML) 3. Acute monoblastic leukemia ( Schilling's type )
Incidence of Acute Leukemia Leukemia can occur at any age, acute forms of leukemia can occur in children and young adults and in fact in this age group it is the most common form of cancer. It is more common in females than in males, in whites ( especially those of Jewish extraction ) and in urban and industrialized populations.
Risk Factors Several congenital conditions may increase the risk of leukemia; the most common is probably Down syndrome, which is associated with a 10 to 18 fold increase in the risk of AML.
In general, nonidentical twins and other siblings of children with leukemia have two to four times the average risk of developing the disease. Also, children who have received prior radiation or chemotherapy for other types of cancer have a higher risk of contracting leukemia.
Signs and Symptoms Signs of acute leukemia may include; high fever, abnormal bleeding, easy bruising and prolonged menses. Sometimes the onset of symptoms is more gradual with low grade fever, weakness, chills, recurrent infections or lassitude, lasting for days or months before visual symptoms occur.
In addition, all AML, ALL and Schilling's type leukemias may cause anemia, fatigue, dyspnea, palpitations and abdominal or bone pain. Specific AML symptoms include, local infections such as laryngitis, joint pain and abdominal fullness. Specific ALL symptoms include, night sweats, anorexia, weight loss and shortness of breath.
Leukemia that has spread to the brain may produce central nervous system effects, such as headaches, seizures, weakness, blurred vision, balance difficulties, or vomiting. Leukemia cells may spread to the gums, causing swelling, pain, and bleeding.
Causes of Leukemia Current research points to a combination of viruses, genetic factors, and exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation.
Treatment Medically leukemia is treated mainly with chemotherapy, although radiotherapy and biological therapy can be used in certain subtypes of leukemia.
Nutritional supplements offer help support the healthy function of the immune system, and in particular, the white blood cells in leukemia patients. In addition, some nutritional supplements are able to kill leukemia cells.
Prognosis for Acute Leukemia Untreated, acute leukemia is usually fatal, often because of complications that result from leukemic cells infiltrating into the bone marrow or vital body organs.
With treatment prognosis varies, survival rates in leukemia have risen dramatically in the last 40 years with improvements in diagnosis and treatment. Children between 2 and 8 have the best survival rate (around 50%) but overall, treatment does induce remission in about 90% of cases.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Dick_Aronson