What is Leukemia and what causes it? (Definition)
Leukemia is a group of cancers that usually begin in the bone marrow and result in having high numbers of abnormal white blood cells. These white blood cells called blasts or leukemia cells, are not fully developed and don’t work the way they should. Eventually, they crowd out the healthy blood cells in the bone marrow. White blood cells are infection fighters which normally grow and divide as your body needs them. The rate at which leukemia progresses and how the cells replace the normal blood and marrow cells are different with each type of leukemia.
Different types of leukemia depend on the type of blood cell that becomes cancer. The treatment and prognosis for leukemia depend on the type of blood cell affected and whether the leukemia is acute or chronic. Acute leukemia is a fast-growing cancer that usually gets worse quickly. Chronic leukemia is a slower-growing cancer that gets worse slowly over time.
There are four main types of leukemia:
- Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
- Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
- Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)
Leukemia occurs most often in adults older than 55 years, but it is also the most common cancer in children younger than 15 years. The exact cause of leukemia remains unknown, however medical research scientists are making significant progress towards understanding and fighting this disease.
Different kinds of leukemia are believed to have different causes. Both inherited and environmental (non-inherited) factors are believed to be involved.
Leukemia symptoms vary, depending on the type of leukemia. Common leukemia signs and symptoms might include persistent fatigue or weakness, fever, chills, frequent infections, unexpected weight loss, easily bruising and bleeding including recurrent nose bleeds, swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen, night sweating, tenderness or pain in the bones, and tiny red spots in the skin (petechiae). Diagnosis is typically made by blood tests or bone marrow biopsy.
For more information on Leukemia, including recommended treatments, please visit Mayoclinic.org.
See below for updated news and information regarding Leukemia including new medical research, treatment options and advancements.
Latest Leukemia News
Leukemia Diagnosis Research News: Advances prompt release of new recommendations for diagnosis, management of adult AML
Leukemia Treatment Research News: Research leads to new treatment recommendations for a high-risk pediatric leukemia
Leukemia Lymphoma Treatment Research Shows Promise: New drug cocktail unlocks potential of new Leukaemia treatment
Acute Myeloid Leukaemia Treatment News: Researchers from Goethe University discover a new clinical biomarker to improve treatment of leukemia
Myelodysplastic Syndrome Treatment Research: Possible Treatment Targets Found for Pre-Malignant Bone Marrow Disorders
Leukemia – Multiple Myeloma Research News: AGGRESSIVE FORM OF LEUKEMIA LINKED TO DEFECTIVE ‘PROTEIN FACTORY’