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Leukemia is a cancer in the blood-forming tissues of the body, which can include the lymphatic system as well as the bone marrow. There are many different types of Leukemia, some which are most common in children and others which tend to be more common in adults. Leukemia most often begins within the white blood cells, which are designed to be potent fighters against infection. With people who have Leukemia however, abnormal white blood cells are produced, which do not divide or grow in the orderly manner they are meant to, and it is this abnormal cell production that is harmful to the body.

Causes, Risk Factors and Complications of Leukemia

Scientists have not yet to determine the exact cause behind Leukemia, but it is believed that both environmental and genetic factors play a role. Some blood cells can acquire mutations in the DNA, and these changes in the cells cause the development of Leukemia. When white blood cells divide and grow abnormally, healthy blood cells are crowded out as a result and this causes damage to the body and a deterioration of health. There are several types of Leukemia including acute Leukemia, chronic Leukemia, lymphocytic Leukemia and myelogenous Leukemia.

Because Leukemia is a degenerative disease, one that will become progressively worse without treatment, the potential complications are enormous. When healthy cells are crowded out in favor of abnormally growing cells, the body cannot fight off infections and other issues that arise. The most common complications of Leukemia include: chronic infection, anemia, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, secondary cancers, richer transformation and secondary cancers. Working with a physician early in the development of the disease is absolutely essential.

Signs, Symptoms and Testsof Leukemia

The symptoms of Leukemia can vary depending on what type is developing. The most common signs and symptoms of Leukemia include: chills or fever, persistent weakness or fatigue, losing weight effortlessly, easy bruising or bleeding, swollen lymph nodes, spleen or liver enlargement, bone pain, bone tenderness, excessive sweating and petechiae or tiny red spots on the skin.

Chronic Leukemia may be found in a routine blood examination before any symptoms arise. If signs and symptoms are already present however, there is a battery of tests that physicians can prescribe to find the cause for those symptoms. These can include: blood tests, bone marrow tests and physical examinations. However, there are other tests that may be required in order to determine not only the presence of Leukemia, but also what level of damage has already been done to the body. One of the most important tests once it has been diagnosed is determining whether or not the Leukemia cells have spread to other parts of the body such as the lymph nodes.

Treatment, Drugs and Preventionof Leukemia

Treatment for Leukemia will depend on a number of factors including age of the patient, overall health, the type and whether or not it has spread to other parts of the body. Some of the most common treatment options for Leukemia include: chemotherapy, targeted therapy, biological therapy, radiation therapy and stem cell transplants. Biological therapy works by aiding the immune system in fighting off the Leukemia cells. Targeted therapy relies on drugs that attack the cancer cells by focusing on their vulnerabilities. Stem cell transplants replace diseased bone marrow with healthy bone marrow, typically in conjunction with radiation therapy or chemotherapy, which destroys the diseased bone marrow.