Blood is a part of the body. Blood has different components such as red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma.
Leukemia or Blood Cancer is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of blood cells, usually white blood cells. Leukemia is a broad term covering a spectrum of diseases. In turn, it is part of the even broader group of diseases called hematological neoplasm’s.
Leukemia is clinically divided into several groups that are:
Acute leukemia is the rapid increase of immature blood cells. This crowding makes the bone marrow unable to produce healthy blood cells. Immediate treatment is required in acute leukemia due to the rapid progression and accumulation of the malignant cells, which then spill over into the bloodstream and spread to other organs of the body. Acute forms of leukemia are the most common forms of leukemia in children.
Chronic leukemia is distinguished by the excessive build up of relatively mature, but still abnormal, white blood cells. Typically taking months or years to progress, the cells are produced at a much higher rate than normal cells, resulting in many abnormal white blood cells in the blood. Whereas acute leukemia must be treated immediately, chronic forms are sometimes monitored for some time before treatment to ensure maximum effectiveness of therapy. Chronic leukemia mostly occurs in older people, but can theoretically occur in any age group.
lymphocytic leukemia is the cancerous change takes place in a type of marrow cell that normally goes on to form lymphocytes, which are infection-fighting immune system cells. Most lymphocytic leukemias involve a specific subtype of lymphocyte, the B cell. myelogenous leukemia: myelogenous leukemia is the cancerous change takes place in a type of marrow cell that normally goes on to form red blood cells, some other types of white cells, and platelets.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
It is the most common type of leukemia in young children. This disease also affects adults, especially those ages 65 and older. Standard treatments involve chemotherapy and radiation. The survival rates vary by age: 85% in children and 50% in adults.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
It is most often affects adults over the age of 55. It sometimes occurs in younger adults, but it almost never affects children. Two-thirds of affected people are men. The five-year survival rate is 75%. It is incurable, but there are many effective treatments. One subtype is B-cell prolymphocytic leukemia, a more aggressive disease.
Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
It occurs more commonly in adults than in children, and more commonly in men than women. AML is treated with chemotherapy. The five-year survival rate is 40%. Subtypes of AML include acute promyelocytic leukemia, acute myeloblastic leukemia, and acute megakaryoblastic leukemia.
Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
It occurs mainly in adults. A very small number of children also develop this disease. Treatment is with imatinib (Gleevec) or other drugs. The five-year survival rate is 90%. One subtype is chronic monocytic leukemia.
Hairy cell leukemia (HCL)
It is sometimes considered a subset of CLL, but does not fit neatly into this pattern. About 80% of affected people are adult men. There are no reported cases in young children. HCL is incurable, but easily treatable. Survival is 96% to 100% at ten years.
T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL)
It is a very rare and aggressive leukemia affecting adults; somewhat more men than women are diagnosed with this disease. Despite its overall rarity, it is also the most common type of mature T cell leukemia; nearly all other leukemias involve B cells. It is difficult to treat, and the median survival is measured in months.
Large granular lymphocytic leukemia
It may involve either T cell or NK cells; like hairy cell leukemia, which involves solely B cells, it is a rare and indolent (not aggressive) leukemia.
Most forms of leukemia are treated with pharmaceutical medications, typically combined into a multi-drug chemotherapy regimen. Some are also treated with radiation therapy. In some cases, a bone marrow transplant is useful.